In times of great developments and prosperity in terms of technology, economy, and infrastructure, our nature is in the headlines almost all the time. We are in a place where human minds are working to find cures rather than effective methods of prevention to save lives in the realm of actively changing climatic conditions. Due to the impact of climate changes, wildfires have been raging all over the globe in the past 25 years. One such wildfire was the wildfire in Canada but first, we have to know what exactly a wildfire is.
Wildfire is a general term that includes forest fires, grassland fires, bushfires, brush fires, and any other vegetation fire in countryside areas. Wildfires occur in every continent except Antarctica. They can occur naturally and spontaneously, but many are caused by humans, accidentally or deliberately. In cases of droughts, the wildfires spread like a virus due to global warming and many other humans caused climatic changes. Wildfires are a natural hazard in any forested and grassland region in Canada.
Canada is home to about 30 per cent of the world’s total forests and 10 per cent of what is known as forest cover, which refers to a specific density of trees. According to the National Forestry Database, Canada’s worst year for forest fires burned about seven million hectares in the year 1995. On average in Canada, wildfires burn 2.5 million ha/year, nearly half the size of Nova Scotia. In the year 2018, British Columbia experienced its worst season on record in B.C., burning 1.35 million hectares, requiring 66 evacuation orders, and affecting 2,211 properties. The province spent $615 million to fight the fires.
A country other than Canada, where wildfires occur the most, is the United States. The other countries which have been affected by wildfires in the past fifty years are Yugoslavia, Argentina, Mexico, Russia, Greece, Spain, Malaysia, China, Australia, and Indonesia. The Amazon forest fire and the Australian bush fire are the latest examples of wildfires due to global climate change which kills humans and animals alike. These wildfires in return release more carbon dioxide in the air, making our world more prone to such natural calamities.
Daniel Aldrich, professor of Political Science, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs and co-director of Northeastern University’s Security and Resilience Studies master’s program, claimed that the wildfires in Canada have caused severe devastation. Recovery is a function of three primary factors: labour markets/jobs, internal cohesion and social capital, and government-directed infrastructure and housing-recovery money. The individuals, who become the victims of such fires, have to leave their homes and start their lives elsewhere. Many of them suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and lose touch with their community and connections with the place they called home. The economy gets hampered, infrastructure gets plundered, and millions of animals lose their lives and habitat.
Therefore, we should remember that global climate change doesn’t have only one dimension. It has many forms and exists all over the world, affecting humans and animals and changing their lives with the raging wildfires of pollution and irresponsible human behaviour.