This article is available also in spanish here

The effects of forest fires on cities

My list

Autor | M. Martínez Euklidiadas

Forest fires are getting increasingly closer to cities. With temperature increases resulting from high atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, fires are becoming more frequent and harder to extinguish. What does this mean for cities? What can we do to combat fires?

How do forest fires affect the environment?

Despite some forest fires occurring 'naturally', only 2% of them are caused by lightning and less than 5% by phenomena that do not involve humans. In a warm Mediterranean country such as Spain, 22.5% are caused by negligence and 60% are intentional. This has a serious impact on the environment and society:

They kill plants and animals. Sometimes even eradicating certain species or varieties.

● **They damage the soil, **which can sometimes be irreversible. This erosion is often caused by the water used to extinguish the fires.

● When trees catch fire, they release CO2, further affecting the fight against climate change and leading to a negative feedback loop.

● The air continues to be polluted for a time. Ash and smoke can cause a range of health problems in people.

● Those working close to forest fires, such as farmers, can lose everything in a matter of hours.

How many large forest fires were there in 2021?

Six decades ago there were category 1 and 2 wildfires. However, fifth and sixth generation fires (mega-fires) are becoming increasingly frequent. As the air temperature rises, so too does the frequency and duration of fires. The most noteworthy events in 2021 were:

● Forest fires in Greece. The country's firefighters identified 428 forest fires and approximately 124 hectares were destroyed.

● Forest fires in Turkey. The authorities confirm 126 fires across 32 cities.

● Forest fires in Italy. In August, temperatures reached 48.8 ºC in Sicily. Once again, pyromaniacs were behind the fires.

● Explosive fire in Sierra Bermeja, Spain, in September. This is considered a sixth generation and practically uncontrollable fire.

Although this year the Mediterranean region was particularly affected (the Mediterranean Sea is becoming the fastest-warming body of water), Central Africa, the California coast, Eastern Brazil or Northern Australia, also had their fair share of wildfires.

According to Copernicus, the EU's Atmosphere Monitoring Service, in the summer of 2021 alone (months of July and August), around 2643.4 megatons of CO2 were released into the atmosphere as a result of wildfires across the world.

forest-fires-cities-17

What are the main effects of forest fires for our cities?

Apart from the possibility of the fires destroying cities ---something that is quite rare thanks to the safety mechanisms in place and the fact that cities are not usually located 'inside' dense forests--- the direct impact is the harmful effect of smoke on our health.

forest-fires-cities-18

In addition to the destruction of the landscape, wildfires have an impact on companies in the region for years to come**.** Both agriculture and livestock farming are affected, and industry could be too if fires devour facilities or infrastructures. Without these, the region will slump.

How can smart cities help control forest fires?

There are a growing number of environmental monitoring systems to protect against forest fires. Cities such as New Orleans have shown how it is possible to reduce fires. Emergency systems are increasingly refined however, unfortunately, they cannot 'grow' as fast as fires do.

The smartest solution is to stop releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. As much and as soon as possible. Smart cities do not use combustion engines in their processes and they get about or create heat without burning fossil fuels in the process. Luckily, it is precisely in urban settings where mobility without explosions is possible and electric heating.

Images | Matt Howard, Copernicus

Related content

Recommended profiles for you

Remember to activate your profile to network!
Activate profile
AURELIO ESCOBAR
AURELIO ESCOBAR
Freelance
consulting
gn
goyo nieto
GREENYNG
GREENYNG is
JP
Joan Presas
Vossloh-Schwabe
General Manager
GM
Gokul Kishore M
Tirupur Smart City Limites
Intern Trainee and advisor
Janet Castro
Janet Castro
Euroaula
Teacher
DB
Dan Boyle
Cork City Council
City counciilor. Chair of Environment Policy Committee
YY
Yahya k abdul Yahzid
Army
ACQUISITIONS AND CROSS SERVICING AGREEMENTS. INTERAGENCY COORDINATION. DESIGNING AND PLANNING
Iuliia Maskova
Iuliia Maskova
UPV/EHU
MSc in Smart Cities and Communities
CS
Claudiu Salanta
Cluj County Council
Chief architect
JV
Jorge Villavicencio
Spcc
Chief of automation and electricity
EC
Eduardo Cardoso
OneRF Networks
Ceo
SA
Sanjay Avhad
Aadvika Engineers Private Limited
Maintenance of the water main
NC
Nuno Couceiro
CPWM
CEO
EN
Ekaterina Nikonova
VCS Lighting
Specialist of overseas business and special projects
saurabh varma
saurabh varma
recktronic devices and systems
Search, locate and evaluate new technology and applicability to the Indian sub continent markets
Jannatul Mawa Akanto
Jannatul Mawa Akanto
American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB)
Masters student
Molly Webb
Molly Webb
Energy Unlocked
Director
ÁB
Ángel Emilio Bonilla Fernández
INSTITUTO TECNOLÓGICO SUPERIOR DE HUICHAPAN
Teaching
Muhammed Osman Kose
Muhammed Osman Kose
Tekled
Lighting Design Engineer
ML
Menghan Luo Luo
Smart City
EIT-KIC

SmartCity
Thank you for registering to Tomorrow.City. You can now start exploring from your computer, or with your phone or tablet downloading our app!
Only accessible for registered users
This content is available only for registered users
TO: $$toName$$
SUBJECT: Message from $$fromName$$