Climate change is one of the main reasons for bushfires, not only in Australia and the western United States but throughout the world. The risk of a wildfire occurring depends on a number of factors, including the moisture of the soil, the temperature, and how many shrubs, trees, and other things can contribute to fueling the fire. Basically, all of these components can be related back to climate change either directly or indirectly. Climate change has a drying effect on bushes as well as trees and grass. The drier those things are, the easier it becomes for wildfires to start and then spread, forcing people from their homes and animals from their natural habitats.
Many studies have been conducted and are continuing to be done on the effects of the climate becoming warmer which promotes the drier conditions that are having an effect on wildfires. It also means there are more droughts occurring, so the potential fire season has also increased making it even riper for wildfires to occur. Also, with the increase of thunderstorms throughout the world, bushfires started by lightning strikes have also increased. Once a fire starts either by the negligence of people or other factors, such as a lightning strike, they spread quickly and are more difficult to get under control and to put out. The warmer and drier conditions the world is experiencing have also led to an increase of insects, such as the mountain pine beetle, that will either kill trees or weaken them causing them to start rotting and making them even more prone to catching on fire.
There are many effects that climate change has on the world around us including making the fire season last much longer which then leads to the many impacts of bushfires on our world. When the conditions outdoors become hotter, it can mean more dangerous bushfires in less time that people have to provide for hazard reduction.
In Australia, the hotter temperatures mean more extremely hot days and even longer heatwaves. These types of weather conditions are increasing the risk of bushfires throughout the country. It also means that vegetation, including bushes and trees, is much dryer and will fuel the fire so to speak. This means hotter conditions combined with periods of lower rainfall will dry out the soil and the vegetation which in itself creates a much more increased risk of bushfires.
Climate change also means there is more lightning occurring since warmer climates promote those types of storms and lightning is definitely one of the factors that can start a wildfire fire.
There are many ways we can see the impacts of bushfires on the world around us and how fires affect the environment, including when it comes down to money. Governments in Australia, the United States, and many other countries are faced with increased costs when it comes to fire suppression expenditures, which can cost billions of dollars every time a wildfire occurs. Essentially, that boils down to it costs all of us money when there is a bushfire.
Public health is affected by every single wildfire because each one poses a risk to human life as well as properties in public health in general. An example of how fires affect the environment is the fact that they cause reduced air quality which can lead to eye diseases as well as respiratory illnesses, especially in the elderly and young children populations. When wildfires spread to residential areas, there is then melting plastic which can lead to the melting of water pipes that can cause contamination of our water supplies.
While wildfires can actually be a good part of our ecosystems, the increase and the number of them is leading to a negative effect. The greenhouse gases they produce can stay in the environment longer when there are more fires which mean plants can not grow properly or recolonize as well which limits their carbon uptake.
On the upside, there are several things we can do to decrease the effects of how fires affect the environment, such as not building residential neighborhoods near fire-prone areas and incorporating fire-resistant designs and materials when constructing new buildings. We can also increase the number of resources that are allotted to fire prevention as well as firefighting and we can clean up our forest from dead trees that can fuel wildfires. We also need to all work together to do whatever we can to protect our environment from climate change.