The devastation that comes with your country being on fire is not a club anyone wants to be a part of.
For us Aussies, seeing bushfires in the world news brings up horrible memories of watching our own home burn in one of the worst wildfires ever recorded back in 2019/2020. This year, summer in the northern hemisphere has seen some of the highest recorded temperatures ever and widespread drought—the perfect recipe for wildfires. I’m not sure we need any more evidence to suggest the climate crisis is happening right now, but here it is.
In Hawaii, thousands of people were forced to evacuate the Big Island over the weekend, and two homes were destroyed. Mayor Mitch Roth said the fires were the biggest they’d ever seen on the island. Hawaii doesn’t usually have a high fire risk given its wet, tropical climate, but as climate change-related weather patterns intensify, it’s not a case of risk or no risk. It’s just happening.
The fires across Canada and the US are spewing out so much smoke that the sky above multiple continents is now thick with it, as seen in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s recent satellite video. Like the fires in Australia, the drought conditions brought on by climate change make the wildfires even harder to fight.
UPDATE: Numerous #wildfires across Canada and the western U.S. are spewing out so much #smoke that it now covers much of the sky in both nations, seen here from @NOAA‘s #GOES17🛰️ this afternoon. More than 90 large wildfires are actively burning across 12 states in the U.S. pic.twitter.com/ZnwkZXHyir
— NOAA Satellites – Public Affairs (@NOAASatellitePA) August 2, 2021
In Canada, 400 fires are burning across British Columbia and Ontario, with 159 of them are still classified as ‘out of control.’ Almost 100 large wildfires are burning across 13 US states. Russia and Siberia are experiencing their third-largest fire season this century. The wildfires are so extreme, the smoke has now reached the North Pole.
There is no doubt now that fires have become more intense, frequent and destructive than ever before. Rising temperatures and prolonged drought mean these trends will continue to worsen into the future. There’s also the added bonus of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by the fires, which further warms the planet. We have hit the tipping point. The world is on fire. We can no longer ignore the climate change-induced conditions that are destroying our homes.