Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Fire Seasons Have Become Longer Globally, Experts Say

Climate

Experts say that climate change is lengthening global fire seasons, as the southern hemisphere experiences "freak autumn heat" and major weekend bushfires devastate the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales.

"March is not traditionally seen as a time when the bushfire danger escalates, but as the fires in Tartha NSW, and south west Victoria show, bushfires do not respect summer boundaries," said Richard Thornton, the CEO of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.


"When conditions are right, with high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds, bushfires will occur. We will see more fires outside of the traditional summer danger period as our climate changes," Thornton added.

Extreme fires have increased since the 1970s in eastern and southern Australia, with the fire season length extending from October to March.

David Bowman, a professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania, said fire seasons are lengthening globally in response to global warming.

"Joining the dots, this is consistent with climate change," he told the Australian Associated Press. "This is the new normal now—we need to get our heads around this."

"This has some really significant implications for people living in flammable environments because it means you can't put your guard down," he continued. "You can't think summer has ended and say, 'Phew we dodged a bullet.'"

It's not just Australia feeling longer fire seasons. Bowman cited California's similar seasonally "anomalous" wildfires that burned in December.

"Sadly, fires like this well into autumn are an increasing part of the southern Australian experience, as we move further towards climate disruption associated with continued increases in human-associated carbon dioxide (and equivalent) emissions," said Grant Wardell-Johnson, president of the Australian Council of Environmental Dean and Directors.

"Given our weak efforts to reduce emissions globally—and especially in Australia, we will increasingly need to plan for catastrophic events and pick up the pieces following such events," he noted. "A great start would be an acknowledgement of the seriousness of issues we face in climate disruption. A move from burying heads in the sand towards adaptation to climate disruption is well overdue."

The fires in Victoria and New South Wales are believed to have been sparked by lightning.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull criticized those who have linked climate change to the blazes.

"You can't attribute any particular event, whether it's a flood or fire or a drought ... to climate change. We are the land of droughts and flooding rains, we're the land of bushfires," Turnbull said at recent press conference at the fire-ravaged town of Tathra in New South Wales.

"Nature hurls her worst at Australians—it always has and always will. We have an environment which has extremes."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Refrigerated trucks function as temporary morgues at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal on May 06, 2020 in New York City. As of July, the states where COVID-19 cases are rising are mostly in the West and South. Justin Heiman / Getty Images

The official number of people in the U.S. who have lost their lives to the new coronavirus has now passed 130,000, according to tallies from The New York Times, Reuters and Johns Hopkins University.

Read More Show Less
A man walks on pink snow at the Presena glacier near Pellizzano, Italy on July 4, 2020. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP via Getty Images

In a troubling sign for the future of the Italian Alps, the snow and ice in a glacier is turning pink due to the growth of snow-melting algae, according to scientists studying the pink ice phenomenon, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Climate activist Greta Thunberg discusses EU plans to tackle the climate emergency with Parliament's environment committee on March 4, 2020. CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2020 – Source: EP

By Abdullahi Alim

The 2008 financial crisis spurred a number of youth movements including Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. A decade later, this anger resurfaced in a new wave of global protests, from Hong Kong to Beirut to London, only this time driven by the children of the 2008 financial crisis.

Read More Show Less
A climate activist holds a victory sign in Washington, DC. after President Obama announced that he would reject the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal on November 6, 2015. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

The Supreme Court late Monday upheld a federal judge's rejection of a crucial permit for Keystone XL and blocked the Trump administration's attempt to greenlight construction of the 1,200-mile crude oil project, the third such blow to the fossil fuel industry in a day—coming just hours after the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the court-ordered shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Read More Show Less
A forest fire in Yakutsk in eastern Siberia on June 2, 2020. Yevgeny Sofroneyev / TASS via Getty Images

Once thought too frozen to burn, Siberia is now on fire and spewing carbon after enduring its warmest June ever, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
The Colima fir tree's distribution has been reduced to the area surrounding the Nevado de Colima volcano. Agustín del Castillo

By Agustín del Castillo

For 20 years, the Colima fir tree (Abies colimensis) has been at the heart of many disputes to conserve the temperate forests of southern Jalisco, a state in central Mexico. Today, the future of this tree rests upon whether the area's avocado crops will advance further and whether neighboring communities will unite to protect it.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Independent environmental certifications offer a better indicator of a product's eco credentials, including labor conditions for workers involved in production. Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Jeanette Cwienk

This summer's high street fashions have more in common than styles and colors. From the pink puff-sleeved dream going for just €19.99 ($22.52) at H&M, to Zara's elegant €12.95 ($14.63) halter-neck dress, clothing stores are alive with cheap organic cotton.

"Sustainable" collections with aspirational own-brand names like C&A's "Wear the change," Zara's "join life" or H&M's "CONSCIOUS" are offering cheap fashion and a clean environmental conscience. Such, at least, is the message. But is it really that simple?

Read More Show Less