Monday, August 15, 2022

Wildfires raging extensively amid extreme weather globally — Reports

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Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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Wildfires have been burning many parts of the world amid extreme weather over recent weeks.

The rising number and increasing intensity of wildfires were results of climate change and could be the normality, experts warned.

In the U.S. state of California, a fast-moving wildfire, dubbed Dixie Fire, had grown into the worst one in the country so far this year since it started on July 13.

The fire had burnt about 1,876 square km of land and only 21 per cent contained as at Sunday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

Dixie Fire was also known as the second largest fire in California’s history, only behind the massive August Complex Fire which just happened a year earlier.

In fact, six of the top seven largest wildfires in the state’s history, including the Dixie Fire, had occurred in 2020.

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More than 6,000 wildfires had burnt around 2,347 square km of land in California this year, according to the Cal Fire’s 2021 Incident Archive.

The state and most of the U.S. West were in the grip of a severe drought of historic proportions.

The situation was similar, if not worse in some European countries.

In Italy, 44,442 operations against forest fires had been carried out since mid-June as wildfires have been raging in the southern and central parts of the country amid sweltering temperatures and hot winds, the National Fire Corps tweeted on Sunday.

The flames had destroyed about 53-acre nature reserve near Pescara in the central Abruzzo region.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday said that his country was facing an unprecedented environmental crisis, with multiple large fires after visiting the site where the ancient Olympics were held.

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More than a dozen villages in that area had been evacuated for safety reasons.

According to the National Observatory of Athens, the fires broke out since the beginning of August and had burnt more than 50 percent of the land surface, usually destroyed in an entire fire season in Greece.

A forest fire in southwestern Bulgaria on Wednesday killed two foresters while another one was injured.

There were at least two other wildfires scorching the country at the same time, said the Interior Ministry.

In North Macedonia, the government declared a 30-day state of crisis due to raging wildfires.

The massive fires had also prompted evacuations in Turkey and Albania.

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As many European countries were hit hard by extreme weather this summer, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius urged countries to take stronger action against climate change.

“We are fighting some of the worst wildfires we have seen in decades.

“This summer’s floods, heatwaves, and forest fires can become our new normality. We need immediate action before it is too late,’’ he said on social media recently.

Sinkevicius’s view was echoed by Euthymios Lekkas, professor of environmental disaster management at the University of Athens.

“In the near future, phenomena like extreme heat waves, wildfires, floods, will be normality.

“Climate crisis is here. We must start planning under new procedures. We have to change our way of thinking,” he told Greek national broadcaster ERT.



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