The growing intensity of wildfires and their spread to new corners of the globe raises fears that climate change is exacerbating the dangers.
In South America, the Amazon basin is ablaze. Halfway around the world in central Africa, vast stretches of savanna are going up in flame. Arctic regions in Siberia are burning at a historic pace.
While the Brazilian fires have grown into a full-blown international crisis, they represent only one of many significant areas where wildfires are currently burning around the world. Their increase in severity and spread to places where fires were rarely previously seen is raising fears that climate change is exacerbating the danger.
Hotter, drier temperatures “are going to continue promoting the potential for fire,” said John Abatzoglou, an associate professor in the department of geography at the University of Idaho, describing the risk of “large, uncontainable fires globally” if warming trends continue.