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Record deaths due to forest fires: 2023 worst year of this century

In 2023, wildfires are expected to destroy about 988 million acres of land globally, cause over 250 deaths, and release 6.5 billion tons.

By Ground report
New Update
Record deaths due to forest fires: 2023 worst year of this century

In 2023, wildfires are expected to destroy about 988 million acres of land globally, cause over 250 deaths, and release 6.5 billion tons of the harmful gas, carbon dioxide.

Pauline Valian Carlotti, a researcher in land geography and forest fires, spoke to AFP news agency about this issue. She said that this year’s wildfires around the world were “out of control,” showing that our current ability to put out such fires is not enough.

Carlotti emphasized the need to focus more on preventing fires rather than just extinguishing them. She stated, “We cannot handle the current situation with the available firefighting resources, so it’s important to focus on preventing fires rather than just putting them out.”

According to international data, more than 250 people have died in forest fires worldwide this year, the highest number of human deaths from this cause in the 21st century.

Record casualties

In 2023, by December 23rd, wildfires had devastated approximately 198 million acres of land in the United States. In Canada, forest fires had also caused significant damage, affecting around 18 million acres of land.

The emergency events database of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium reports that more than 250 people have died in forest fires worldwide this year. Forest fires have caused the highest number of deaths in the 21st century.

As forest fires spread, they leave less time for plants to regenerate, which can reduce forests’ ability to absorb carbon dioxide.

Data from the Global Wildfire Information System shows that wildfires have emitted about 6.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide globally since the start of 2023. We compare this to 36.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels.

Interestingly, plants reabsorb about 80 percent of the carbon dioxide that forest fires release. However, the remaining 20 percent stays in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change.

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