The wildfires from Canada along with the country are impacting the US East Coast as well. Climate-change induced record heatwaves are being considered as the prime reason for the wildfires. The air quality of the affected regions has declined as the smoke from the wildfires envelops them. Till now, they could not be contained as they spread all around and result in several adversities.
For six weeks now, large-scale wildfires have spread over Canada leading to many people leaving their residences and burning of more than 3.3 million hectares of land.
Incidents of wildfire burnings are common during this time of the year till October, but the one occurring presently, is one of the most distressing ever witnessed or heard of. The extreme heating in the respective region due to climate change have paved the way for this calamity.
The smoke from the fires is now spreading over a significant area in the United States, the East Coast, to be specific. The air quality in the East Coast has declined as a result and is categorised as one of the poorest in the world currently.
The wildfires are extensive
It is yet to be determined what led to the wildfires taking place this early but there are a few prime reasons for their occurrence generally, lightning and human actions, according to expert and Queen’s University fellow Edward Struzik.
Human activities such as expelling industrial waste, automobiles, vehicles and so on being operated in forests as they travel on dry grass, people not disposing cigarettes properly or not putting out a campfire can cause wildfires.
The natural causes such as lightning account for about a third to a half cases of wildfires in Canada. Additionally conditions of plants in the forests can also turn out to be a factor. Beetles and insects likewise finish off trees and as they fall and lie on the ground, they become a fuel in the season marked by dryness with little to no rain and cause fire to ignite.
Alberta is one of the majorly affected regions in Canada. There are about 76 active wildfires in the province with 10 of them being a result of human activities while 22 of them are caused by lightning. The remaining 41 are still being studied.
The smoke is now moving towards the East Coast in the US. The air quality in New York dropped to poor levels and enveloped the whole area with haze, making it achieve an orange appearance.
Well, dryness does do a job of igniting wildfires
Kent Moore, professor of physics at the University of Toronto in a conversation with Yahoo News! Canada said that in Nova Scotia, another Canadian province blazing from wildfires, there is scope to put a stop to them as the soil there is wet.
But with regions where the soil is dry, the fire doesn’t stop developing under the ground and when has an opportunity to erupt, turns out to have a high level of intensity.
It always comes down to climate change
Moore does not think that climate change is not wholly causing the wildfires but we should also look at the issue in terms of variability in seasons.
He says “There’s just natural variability, some springs are dry and some springs are wet.” Struzik does emphasise on the role that climate change has played in the issue.
He says, “The fires season is also lasting longer now because of climate change. Spring is coming weeks earlier and fall is coming weeks later. More time for the fires and grasslands to burn”.
Climate change can very well be considered a cause for the wildfires but it becomes essential to look at the issue from different angles that would aid in tackling it.
The wildfires till now are not contained. The weather conditions which are extremely hot and dry are sustaining the fires which continue to wreak havoc over a wide region. The smoke emissions from the wildfires are bound to give a hard time to people.
They would have to breathe the air highly contaminated by the smoke. It is hazardous and can make them suffer from breathing and respiratory problems and in some cases, it can even prove to be fatal.
The smoke blanketing New York City provided for shocking images. In response, the concern asks for adequate, efficient and robust mechanism that would not just be in the interest of the people, but the green covers, the forest as well, the gems that need our protection.