Wildfires are a natural phenomenon that occur when dry vegetation, hot temperatures, and strong winds combine to ignite a fire. However, human activities such as careless campfires, arson, and agricultural practices have significantly increased the frequency and intensity of wildfires in many parts of the world. Wildfires have devastating consequences for local ecosystems and communities, including destruction of wildlife habitat, air pollution, and loss of property and lives.
A study led by UC Irvine found that forest fires in northern latitudes are the primary source.
An international team of researchers, led by Earth system scientists at the University of California, Irvine, has reported that carbon dioxide emissions from wildfires have experienced a sharp increase to an all-time high in 2021. The emissions have been steadily rising since 2000.
According to a paper published in Science by the team of scientists, nearly 1.76 billion tons of CO2, equivalent to nearly half a gigaton of carbon, was released into the atmosphere from burning boreal forests in North America and Eurasia in 2021. This amount is 150% higher than the average annual CO2 emissions observed between 2000 and 2020.