Due to the abnormal heat in Europe at the beginning of summer (temperature records in Germany were set at 40.5º Celsius and in France - at 40.6º Celsius) a wave of forest fires took place, as a result of which people and animals were injured, hectares of forests and fields were burned. Now in Siberia, territories comparable to the area of Belgium are burning. Unfortunately, this is not an exception, but a natural continuation of the natural disasters that have been observed in recent years. Here are the top five largest forest fires of the last decade.
USA, California - 2018
In November 2018, a massive fire erupted in California, killing at least 85 people. Almost 14 thousand houses were destroyed, about 115 thousand hectares of forest burned out. Local authorities called it the largest fire in state history. This is despite the fact that a year ago in California, more than 100 thousand hectares were flaming too.
The local authorities attracted about five thousand firefighters to extinguish the fire, who barely managed to keep up with the fire, which in some areas spread at a speed of 130 kilometers per hour.
When the flames gradually began to subside, passions between the local and federal authorities flared up. US President Donald Trump criticized the local authorities for the fact that its poor forest management and gross misuse were the cause of the full-scale tragedy.
Moreover, in January of this year, Trump published a message on his Twitter, where he spoke about the inexpediency of using the billions of dollars that went into rebuilding the state after fires. After all, such a tragedy would never have happened if the forestry were properly managed.
Greece - 2018
Forest fires that broke out on July 23, 2018, became the largest for Greece in the last decade. A state of emergency was introduced in several regions. The elements claimed the lives of at least 80 citizens. The fire burned in Athens. The coastal city of Mati was completely destroyed by fire.
The authorities attracted hundreds of rescuers and 47 vehicles, as well as the military, to extinguish the huge fire. The rapid spread of fire in pine forests near the Greek capital was facilitated by a strong wind. A huge cloud of smoke covered the Acropolis and the ancient Parthenon. The Greek government has requested international assistance from a number of countries from the land and air, for example, Germany, Poland, France. The cause of massive fires was the abnormal heat and lack of rainfall for many months. Authorities also talked about a possible arson.
Australia, Victoria - 2009
Due to the abnormal heat of 2009, a series of forest fires broke out in southern Australia, which turned into a large-scale fire in Australia over the past 10 years (173 people died). Fire covered territories with a total area of over 450 thousand hectares. About 8,000 citizens were evacuated. About 3,500 houses burned down. The southern state of Victoria suffered the most - town of Kingslake burned out almost to the ground. The town of Marysville was destroyed by more than 80%.
USA, Arizona - 2011
Forest fires that raged in eastern Arizona in May-June 2011 were recognized as the strongest in state history. The fire swept over 1900 thousand hectares of forest, destroyed dozens of houses. More than 11,000 people had to be evacuated due to the impending fire. Smoke from fires led to the disruption of air traffic and worsened air quality in the neighboring states of New Mexico, Colorado and even distant Iowa. Thousands of rescuers extinguished fires for about a month.
Russia, Siberia - 2019
Forest fires in Siberia and the Far East, provoked by weather conditions, continue to shock the world community with a growing scale (given the inaction of the authorities), now it has covered over 2.9 million hectares, and in 2019, the fire has already destroyed about 11 million hectares of forest in Siberia.
And while the Russian government speaks of the economic disadvantage of putting out a fire of this magnitude, emphasizing that the cost of all the resources that need to be put out to extinguish will be greater than the size of the damage from the fire, smoke from Siberia reached Mongolia, Alaska and the western coast of Canada. Even the Yakut shamans, who in Baikal call on the spirits to send rains to Siberia, were alarmed.