Wildfires – Greece
More than 500 firefighters struggled into the night on Tuesday to contain a large forest blaze on the outskirts of Athens, which raced into residential areas, forcing thousands to flee. It was the worst of 81 fires that broke out in Greece over the past 24 hours amid one of the country’s worst heatwaves in decades.
Wildfires – Impact on Climate
While pandemic-related lockdowns led to a dramatic drop in greenhouse gas emissions last year, the event that had the biggest impact on the climate in 2020 was actually a series of devastating bushfires in Australia, according to a new study.
Researchers compared the effect of both the drop in vehicle emissions and industrial activity during the pandemic with smoke released by the Australia wildfires. They found that the decline in pollution during lockdowns produced clearer skies, allowing more sunlight to reach Earth, thereby warming the planet by around 0.05 degrees C. Smoke from the Australian bushfires, on the other hand, blocked sunlight, cooling the planet by around 0.06 degrees Celsius.
Wildfires – California, Montana, USA
Evacuation orders have been issued in several regions in the West due to spreading wildfires. Thousands of residents in Northern California and Montana were ordered to flee their homes as both new and existing wildfires neared neighbourhoods. Currently, about 90 large wildfires are burning in 12 states in the West — much of which is suffering from severe drought conditions.
The Dixie Fire — the largest in the state — has been through more than 253,000 acres and is just 35% contained.
The McFarland Fire in Wildwood, California, prompted evacuations in the area after it grew to more than 15,000 acres and remains just 5% contained.
Evacuation warnings are in effect for the Monument Fire in Big Bar, California, after scorching through more than 6,000 acres.
The Boulder 2700 Fire near Polson, Montana, burned through nearly 1,500 acres by Tuesday afternoon and prompted evacuations over the weekend. Multiple structures have been destroyed by the fire.
At least 35 new wildfires ignited over the weekend due to lightning strikes. Dozens of wildfires have sparked in Oregon alone over the last 48 hours, while 13 new fires have started in the last 24 hours in Montana.