UNEP Report: Number of wildfires to rise by 50% by 2100

According to a report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Norwegian GRID-Arendal organization climate change and land-use change may increase wildfire intensity and frequency globally to unmanageable levels this century. The experts forecast a global increase of extreme fires up to 14% by 2030, 30% by 2050, and 50% by the end of the century. It is hardly unexpected, given how destructive wildfires have become in recent years. A reduction in greenhouse gases will not stop the projected uncontrolled increase in wildfires, experts say. Moreover, the study indicated that wildfires and climate change are "mutually exacerbating" each other, and communities are unprepared for the increased threat of wildfire.

The experts indicate that there is a need for drastic changes in government expenditure on wildfires and encourage investing in prevention and preparedness rather than focusing on reaction and response. There is an urgent need to improve our understanding of wildfire behavior. To achieve and maintain adaptive land and fire management, a combination of policies, a legal framework, and incentives that promote appropriate land and fire use are required.

The report "Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires" is available for download here.

Image: Bandipur National Park wildfire 2019 (Image by: Naveen Nkadalaveni) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bandipur_fires_2019.jpg