Researchers report that last month was the worst July for wildfires in the world since at least 2003.
According to The Guardian, scientists from the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service found that the fires released 343 megatonnes of carbon during the month, a measure about a fifth higher than the previous global peak in July. 2014.
FIRES FLASH THROUGH FORESTS IN GREECE; THOUSANDS EVACUATED
“It stands out clearly,” Mark Parrington, a senior scientist with the service, said on Friday. “The world total for July of this year is the highest since our records began in 2003.”
While The Guardian notes that more than half of that number was the result of wildfires in North America and Siberia, the Mediterranean has seen wildfire activity on an astonishing scale.
In Greece, forest fires continued to threaten homes, businesses and parks amid the country’s worst heat wave in three decades.
A 38-year-old volunteer firefighter was killed on Friday when a power pole fell just north of Athens.
Thousands of residents and holidaymakers fled and ferries evacuated 1,153 people from a seaside village and beaches in Evia early Saturday morning.
More than 100 forest fires have raged in Greece in the past few days and firefighters have arrived from the United States, France, Ukraine, Cyprus, Croatia, Sweden and Israel to help combat the flames. Others arrived on Saturday from Romania, Switzerland, Egypt and the Czech Republic.
At least 20 people were injured in the blaze across the country and three people were arrested on Friday on suspicion of starting fires – in two cases intentionally.
In neighboring Turkey, hundreds of fires that have been labeled the worst in decades swept across the southern coast, killing eight people and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands.
Massive fires have also been burning in Siberia in northern Russia for weeks, endangering several villages on Saturday and prompting evacuations there.
In northeastern Siberia, 93 active forest fires burned over 2.8 million acres of Sakha-Yakutia; Stifling temperatures that lasted for weeks also fueled the fires.
European officials have attributed the number of large fires to climate change and Russia has recorded high temperatures which many scientists say are a direct result of the problem – although experts also blame a 2007 decision to dissolve a network of federal aviation responsible for detecting and fighting fires. .
CALIFORNIA’S DIXIE FIRE LEAVES 8 PEOPLE MISSING AFTER 16 SITUATIONS, SHERIFF SAYS
The United States, which also experienced record heat and crippling weather-related drought this summer, finds itself in similar circumstances and the National Interagency Fire Center reported on Friday that 107 large fires burned more than 2 million acres. in the West.
More than 23,700 wildland firefighters and support staff are working to put out these fires, but the wildfire season is far from over in many parts of the world.
This weekend, residents of the state of California are on the alert after the Dixie fire – the largest current wildfire in the country and the third in the state’s history – incinerated much of the town of Greenville during the Gold Rush era and threatened thousands of homes in the northern Sierra Nevada.
The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office told Sacramento’s FOX 40 that at least eight area residents were missing in the blaze.
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The state is on track to overtake last year’s fire season: the worst in recent history with more than 4 million acres burned.
The National Weather Service said on Saturday that while the northwest is expected to experience wet and cooler conditions, above normal temperatures will be seen “from California and the southwest to the central plains and New England” with High fire weather conditions released Saturday for the northern High Plains of Montana and northern Great Basin on Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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