Expert points to “Megafires” as global temperatures rise

World Today

Several regions across the globe are experiencing wildfires.

CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy speaks with an expert about what’s causing them.

It was the devastating punctuation to another smoky, fiery year in the U.S. Last November, the catastrophic Camp Fire swept through the town of Paradise, California.

An estimated 85 people were killed, some 14,000 homes destroyed. Fire crews were, at times, overwhelmed.

One analyst said the Camp Fire is part of a disturbing pattern in the U.S. West as well as globally.

“The bad fire years are coming faster and they’re getting worse. We’re seeing more large fires and more acreage burning on average,” said Michael Kodas of the University of Colorado Boulder.

Michael Kodas with the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Environmental Journalism wrote the book on “Megafires,” what he terms a deadly epidemic of flame that’s been fueled by Earth’s hotter, drier weather, fire managers’ impulse to extinguish all wildfires leading to overgrown forests and more home-building in fire-prone areas.

“What we’ve got is these various forces of climate, development, forest management, that are kind of coming together,” said Michael Kodas of the University of Colorado Boulder.

He argued we probably can’t depend on politicians, especially in the U.S., for answers. Communities, he believes, are best-positioned to make the preparations, like tree thinning and creating defensible space, that will protect homes, watersheds and timber resources in the future.

He cited the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network, where towns collaborate with each other, as one example.

“They are much more convincing than an expert, a policy maker, a firefighter,” said Michael Kodas of the University of Colorado Boulder.