The new normal (part 17): Europe is ablaze, 9 dead in Spain

Reports coming in of wildfires across multiple countries in Europe:

Wildfires have been spreading across southern Europe, fuelled by the hot, dry climate.

Firefighters in Spain are struggling to cope with the country’s worst blazes in a decade while thousands of acres of forest are being destroyed by fires spreading across Greece.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, a state of emergency has been declared around a town in the northeast of the country, as fires have left many residents suffering heat exhaustion.

The Greek Government has called in its secret service to investigate how many of the fires are deliberately lit:

The Greek secret service has been called in to investigate an unusually large number of fires that have spread across the country, to see if arson is to blame.

As officials announced the decision, more than 20 blazes raged out of control, including one that has ravaged the Aegean island of Chios for four days.

I was a volunteer fire fighter for a period of time: I fully appreciate that fires can be started via lightning strikes, power cables tangled in foliage and fire bugs – and the conditions for such fires need to be right.

But here’s the thing: climate change turns manageable fires into holocausts. Around the world fire fighting services acknowledge we’ve entered the era of mega-fires.

This 2009 paper from the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC) states written by representatives from the major fire services in Australia and New Zealand:

AFAC has reviewed the scientific evidence on climate change in relation to the Australian‐New Zealand region. Using available evidence, it believes that climate change is occurring and will continue to do so in the future. Such changes may already be affecting the operations and demand for emergency services, but more assuredly are likely to do so into the future.

The threat is based on strong evidence that points to an ongoing increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leading to an overall increase in mean temperature. Specific consequences of this are the likelihood of widespread reductions of water availability across much of this region, increased sea‐levels and an increased number and intensity of extreme weather events.

The impact on the fire and emergency services sector will be significant.

The following report was prepared for the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) to examine the experiences of those on the front line of the 2009 unprecedented “Black Saturday” fires:  

It notes:

Bushfires are natural phenomena, although sometimes triggered by human action/devices, which cause major loss of life and property in Australia. A combination of drought, climate change and high fuel loads resulted in the unprecedented 2009 bushfires in Victoria. There is significant evidence that natural disasters, including bushfires, can have a major impact on the physical and mental health of individuals and communities living in affected areas. The increasing threat and occurrence of bushfires is therefore of considerable concern, and implementation of effective strategies to prepare individuals and communities are vital.

Here – here is the true victory of the deniers.


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