Constant drought and heat are a 'perfect storm' for southern European fires

Drought and continuous heat are the ‘perfect storm’ for the southern European fire

On the whole, both experts say the situation in Siberia is far more serious than in Europe. According to van der Werf, European fires cause a lot of havoc, but the amount of fire in Siberia is “really exceptional”. He expects this pattern to continue in the coming decades as the world warms.

High CO2 emissions

Increasing fire intensity leads to another problem in addition to direct harassment: high CO2 emissions. When trees are burned, stored CO2 is released. Van der Werf: “Generally, wildfires are CO2-neutral. As the forest grows, the CO2 released into the atmosphere is reabsorbed by the trees. But as the fire gets bigger, it is not fully achievable.” In short, a vicious circle.

It is still difficult to say how many wildfires will be emitted worldwide this year, but experts say it is a serious emission. For example, in 2019 and 2020, bushfires in Australia calculated emissions comparable to one year of global air travel.

Van der Werf: “You can see that Turkey is already on a record in terms of emissions, at least by this time of year and probably all year round.” According to him, global emissions are also exceptional, but it is mainly due to fires in North America and Russia.

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