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The effects of hot and Drought they begin to make themselves felt with one of the worst consequences for nature. From the beginning of 2019 one fire a day has broken out in our country. In total there were 87 fires with 2426 hectares burned, compared to just 4 and 26 hectares in the same period of 2018.
The alarm is raised by the Coldiretti based on data EFFIS (European Forest Fire Information System). The National Confederation of Direct Cultivators has turned the spotlight on the dramatic record on the occasion of the recent fire that devastated the heights of Cogoleto, in the west of Genoa, and of the fiery hell that affected the Sacro Monte di Belmonte Natural Park, in Turin .
The unexpected number of fires is due to a series of linked events. As Coldiretti explains, the fires that have developed in recent weeks have been favored by the wind and the dry environment in a month of March with anomalous climatic features. The maximum and minimum temperatures recorded in Liguria, for example, were about three degrees higher than the seasonal average. But the lack of rainfall also weighed in, with 50% less rain falling in the north during the winter.
In addition to the clear environmental damage, the consequences of fires they will be heard on several other fronts. As Coldiretti explains, it will take at least fifteen years to rebuild the burnt woods with impacts on the economy, work and tourism. In the affected forests, all traditional human activities will be prevented, such as the collection of truffles, wood and berries, as well as that of mushrooms, a hobby that involves tens of thousands of enthusiasts.
The role of climate change in fires
It now appears evident how the protracted heat and the anomalous climatic conditions negatively affect the trend of fires, increasing their number and size. Numerous studies conducted internationally take stock of the situation.
Over the next few decades, the risk of forest fires in the Mediterranean area may increase due to drier climatic conditions. This is supported by a research published in July 2017 in the journal Scientific Reports. To carry out the study, a team consisting of the Institute of Geosciences and Georesources of the CNR and the Universities of Barcelona, Lisbon and California in Irvine, developed mathematical models capable of predicting the danger and extent of forest fires.
These are simulations that, through specific data analyzes, allow to determine empirical but quantitative relationships between the variations in drought conditions and burnt areas. Although most of the fires are triggered by human activities, whether malicious or not, the climatic conditions influence the spread and therefore the extent of the outbreaks.
The results of the study showed that fires will increase proportionally with rising temperatures and drought, ranging from +40 percent to +100 percent by 2099. With an increase of 3 ° C, the devastated areas are expected to double. .
Climate change and forest fires - Image Igg-Cnr
Paradoxically, the areas that are at greatest risk are the northernmost ones ofMediterranean Europe, such as Northern Italy, Catalonia and France. In fact, in these geographical areas, ecosystems have adapted less in past centuries to the progressive drought that the Mediterranean basin is experiencing.
The other effects of climate change
Not just fires. A whole series of extreme consequences derive and will derive from the climate changes currently underway, highlighted by numerous research bodies and international organizations, through a series of alarms reiterated to the institutions.
From heat waves to the melting of ice, from the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases to the risks to human health itself. In short, you cannot sleep peacefully, and as the young and brave recalls Greta Thunberg, “we cannot resolve a crisis if we do not treat it as such". Time is running out. The need for a decisive change of course, based on shared strategies on a global level, appears increasingly urgent. Either now or never. The salvation of the planet is worth it.