An estimated 75% of wildfires spreading globally are due to human activity.
First published in August 2020.
Wildfires raging in California have been described as the “new normal” by Dr. John Balmes, U.C.S.F. professor of medicine specializing in environmental medicine and pulmonary and critical care.
“It’s really become the new normal that we have these mega fires that foul our air and this is a particularly bad set of fires all around the Bay Area, due to the unusual lightning strikes,” Balmes said, adding “... the big driver here, both for the tropical storm in August with lightning and the high heat and the wildfires as a result, is due to climate change, so we need to be working to mitigate climate change.”
Corroborating this, a new WWF report states that an estimated 75% of wildfires are due to human activity. Alarmingly, the number of fire alerts around the world this year are up 13% on 2019 – already a record year – and looking further back, the global fire season increased in length by an average of 19% from 1979 to 2013.
According to the report, the main drivers behind these increases are: “persistent hotter and drier weather due to climate change, and other human factors such as land conversion for agriculture and poor forest management are the main drivers behind the increase.”