On Monday, Greece was struck by a tragedy that came in the form of a wildfire that ravaged a small Greek village. Being one of the worst fires recorded in the history of Greece, it has taken a devastating toll. The current loss of life is at 80 and is assumed to be higher. With flames hot enough to melt cars and char the roads, many horrifying details and experiences have come forward. The high winds are being considered to be a primary factor in the spreading of this wildfire which has caused so much loss. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a wildfire though. So what is a wildfire really and why are they so deadly? This information may help you understand it better.
What are wildfires?
A wildfire is a blaze that is uncontrollable and is usually fueled by different types of weather. Dry underbrushes mixed with wind, burn land by the acres and begin to grow and destroy everything in its path. Climate change and constant warming due to the increase in greenhouse gasses are also a major contributor to this occurrence. With the levels of emissions on an upward trajectory, it is said that the intensity and occurrence of wildfires will only increase over the next several decades. While most wildfires are natural, there have also been many man-made or wildfires caused due to humans.
How are wildfires caused?
1. Human Beings
Most of the wildfires reported in the United States are caused by humans. With things as simple as a cigarette butt or a campfire left unmonitored, huge wildfires have been caused. There are also a few instances of intentional acts of arson. A few things that could cause a wildfire are; burning debris, unattended campfires, equipment failure, cigarettes, fireworks and arson.
2. Mother Nature
Mother nature to is known to play her part in wildfires. Lightning is known to be one of the most common causes for a wildfire, especially the type of lightning called hot lightning. This can last for a relatively long time and when it strikes, it can produce a spark which can set off a forest or field fire. When this mixes with the wind, it spreads faster than people realise and before you know it, becomes uncontrollable. On the other hand, volcanic eruptions are also known to create wildfires.
Climate change plays a pivotal role in these extreme conditions. With more and more damage being done to the environment, these tragedies will sadly be a re-occurring situation. We need to start taking preventive measures and having disaster relief be quick to respond. There is a small margin of time before a wildfire goes out of hand and people need to be quick to react in that timespan.
We’d like to end by saying a little prayer for all the victims of the tragedy in Greece. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.