Governments Must Prepare for More Wildfires, UN Report Warns
A new report from the United Nations Environment Program warns that extreme wildfires will increase 30% by the end of 2050 and 50% by the end of the century because of climate change. The UN is calling for radical changes in the way governments approach wildfires, with a shift in focus to planning and prevention. As part of those efforts, governments should rely more on indigenous fire management practices like prescribed burning — a strategy that has already gained increased traction in California in recent years.
The “Fire Ready Formula” also calls for elevating wildfires to the “same category of global humanitarian response as major earthquakes and floods.” It recommends stronger international safety standards for firefighters as well.
“Current government responses to wildfires are often putting money in the wrong place. Those emergency service workers and firefighters on the frontlines who are risking their lives to fight forest wildfires need to be supported”, said Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, in a news release. “We have to minimize the risk of extreme wildfires by being better prepared: invest more in fire risk reduction, work with local communities, and strengthen global commitment to fight climate change”.