August 12, 2022

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“Mega Fire”: All about this new threat

The northern part of the Gard sector has been hit by the “mega fire” since Thursday. A phenomenon that should unfortunately increase worldwide due to global warming.

The cart is on high alert. The northern part of the department has been hit by a huge fire which has affected 500 hectares at around 8pm on Thursday. “This fire, how to say “mega fire”. It is a very unfavorable and very critical situation in the area because the wind is not calm and it is not going to calm down tomorrow!, this fire official feared. It will continue tonight and for several days,” said Gardin firefighters. Tanguy Ságeres, commander in charge of communications, explained to AFP.

Which countries are affected by “mega fires”?

“Megafires” have proliferated in all four corners of the world in recent years, particularly in Australia and the United States (especially California), where the area burned has increased by 1,200% over the past three to four decades.

In Russia, the forests were also not spared. Siberia will burn more than 16 million hectares this year, with temperatures nearing 50°C. Heat is not recorded in this part of the world. In addition, Turkey or Algeria recently had to deal with terrifying fires that could not be quickly contained.

Europe, Italy and Greece have been hit hard this summer. An episode of massive fires that destroyed 7,100 hectares of forest in France in mid-August 2021 was isolated by firefighters as “unusually” strong.

Causes of “Mega Fires”.

One point that experts now cannot dispute is that climate change is responsible for the increase in fires around the world. “What we see in our research is that global warming has three effects, the first is the spatial expansion of the danger zone, the contamination of historically immune areas”, against fire, underlined Renat Barbero, climatologist at the National Research Institute. Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRE)

Forecasts based on the analyzes of the UN Climate Experts (IPCC) show that “the zone of danger will expand towards northern Europe, then higher,” noted Jean-Luc Dupuy, who for his part studies the spread of fires in Europe and their evolution. INRE Research Laboratory in Avignon.

Today, the area burned each year in Europe averages 400,000 to 500,000 hectares, mainly in Mediterranean countries (Spain, Greece, Italy, France, etc.).

In France, “activity (of fires) will intensify in areas already strong in the southeast, and will extend to the mountain slopes of this region in the south”, where temperatures and drought will increase. , explains Jean-Luc Dupuy, who studies the spread of fires and their evolution in Europe at the INRE research laboratory in Avignon.

A risk, according to its projections, will also increase in the north, especially in the Pays de la Loire and a significant increase in fires in the center is expected in the near future.

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