With the escalating and devastating forest fires worldwide, environmental experts are striving to develop solutions to prevent their spread, mitigate their causes, and introduce the concept of “preventive burning.”
Recent days have seen raging wildfires in Greece, Canada, and the American state of Hawaii, at times overwhelming firefighting teams.
For instance, Greece is currently grappling with its largest forest fire within the European Union, as described by the Greek newspaper “Kathimerini.” The situation in the northeastern part of the country has not significantly improved since the fires broke out on August 19, despite the concerted efforts of multinational teams combating the fires on the ground.
According to the newspaper, the fire that initially ignited near the coastal city of Alexandroupoli has turned into a nightmare, claiming the lives of 20 people, destroying homes, and scorching vast swathes of land near the Turkish border, prompting the evacuation of thousands.
A study published by the “Breakthrough Institute” in the journal “Nature” in California reveals that human-induced climate change has accelerated the frequency of “severe forest fires” by 25 percent on average compared to the pre-industrial era. It also suggests new ideas for prevention, including “preventive burning” to clear forest floors.
Environmental expert Domyat Kamel, the head of the Global Environment Party (an environmental association based in Beirut), explains to “Sky News Arabia” the concept of “preventive burning,” its prerequisites for success, and the underlying factors behind the increased occurrence and severity of forest fires:
Preventive burning entails the collection and controlled burning of dry trees and leaves within forests to prevent them from becoming fuel for forest fires, as these dry materials are among the primary causes of forest fires.
However, preventive burning must be carried out meticulously according to well-planned strategies and under strict supervision, conducted by trained individuals, as errors can exacerbate the crisis.
Preventive measures also encompass the removal of waste, whether industrial or domestic, discarded within forests. Such waste must be disposed of safely since it can also catalyze forest fires. For example, plastic bags left in the sun for extended periods, filled with chemical substances, can ignite due to the gases released from these materials.
The broader cause of forest fires lies in the drastic climate change that has pushed our planet to the brink of a “global boil,” accompanied by widespread drought that has affected agricultural lands. This has led to a higher and denser accumulation of fallen leaves from trees.
It is also essential to note that a high concentration of oxygen within forests can lead to the rapid spread of fires within them.
The increasing incidence of forest fires results in what is known as “total combustion,” where trees burn entirely, turning into ashes, as witnessed in the fires in Greece, Hawaii, and other regions.
In light of this, the president of the Global Environment Party emphasizes the urgent need for scientific plans and substantial funding to establish early warning systems, effectively creating “fire-resistant forests.” This involves swiftly addressing fires at their onset to prevent unprecedented forest fires and disasters in the coming years.