“Australia on ablaze”
“Deadly fire hits Brazil and Amazon”
“Uttarakhand is burning”.
August 2019 witnessed an intense fire in Brazil. The National Institute of Space Research reported that deforestation of Amazon in the year was highest in last 11 years. It further said, “There were more than 80,000 fires, the highest number ever recorded”. Also, Australian bushfire season, Black Summer burnt down hectares of land and killed people. It harmed various species (Ecologists feared that some endangered species might be now at the high risk of extinction); and the air quality has dropped to a hazardous level (as of March 2020). The hard hit region there was New South Wales.
On New Year’s Day 2020 in New Zealand, a blanket of smoke from the Australian fires covered the whole South Island, giving the sky an orange-yellow haze.
Many regions around the globe come across forest fires through natural processes. But, when fires occur at wrong places, it can lead to huge destruction. Wildfires can destroy the complete wildlife and ecosystem of that area. Largely humans are responsible for it.
Fires are a well-known element in rural areas across the world. To get rid of fallen forests and to manage pasture land, fire is commonly used as a tool. It is also started to convert forest to soy field or cattle pasture. The problem develops when these local fires escape and spread around creating catastrophic wildfires. In recent years, the deforestation is at its peak and so are the fires. Studies suggests that people living in rural areas where wildfires are frequent inhale a lot more polluted air (containing smoke) than the one living in metropolitan cities. Expert say climate change in last thirty years has worsened the scope of fires, floods, and other natural disaster. Dryness and drought hit areas are triggered with lightning and dry wind, which most of the time works as a medium to spread the deadly fire.
In India, the practice of Jhum cultivation (Shifting cultivation or Slash and Burn method) is very common among farmers. The practice is to clear a piece of land by setting it on fire and using the field from growing crops such as rice. It is mainly practiced in north-eastern part of the nation. Studies suggest that the burning of the land doesn’t work for long run as it may affect the humidity of the soil to the worst and invite soil erosion. 50 year back, the land in which Jhum Farming was practiced was left for approx 10 years to regain its nutrients and moisture, but now in the rush and increase in population around, the land is hardly left even for 3 years.
Deforestation is playing a bigger role in forest fires and is discouraging the rain-vulnerability to the worst. The delay in rainfall affects the pollination by bees and insects as there is less dew formation. Directly, it affects the complete cycle of the place. Encouraging land-owners to use methods (other than fires) in land management can bring a positive impact in the air-quality. Also, farmers should be motivated to grow their forest produce so that there need not be the urge to clear the forest and transform it into a field for commercial purposes.
When there is forest fire, correct measures must be taken by the forest authority to stop the fire and people must by now check proper method to deal with these spreads. The Earth is home and it must remain a safe place for every species.