September 30, 2023

A stark comparison: What’s the connection between the fires in Canada and the German forests?

It is unimaginable how much forest, how much nature has been destroyed here in a few weeks, how many lives have been tragically lost in the fires: the fires that have been burning in Canada since May are the worst the largest country has ever seen. I saw A complete comparison helps visualize the dimensions.

“Spiegel” calculates that the fire has so far destroyed an area of ​​15.5 hectares in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony. Or, to demonstrate the scale of danger even more impressively: more forests have been burned in Canada than in Germany. The total population of the Federal Republic is 10.7 million hectares.

Fires continue to spread across Canada; All fires are not yet extinguished. This is also unusual because the wildfire season usually ends in late August.

Canada has never had a forest fire this bad

The fact that Canada is burning like never before is linked to climate change: large parts of the country were three to four degrees warmer from May to June than they were between 1961 and 1990. It is a forest fire hazard. If hot, dry air is added, as it has been this year, firefighters have no chance against the flames.

Fires burn forests, animals die in agony – and pollute the atmosphere with CO22. According to “Spiegel,” Canadian forest fires released 1,063 megatons of carbon dioxide this year. This is roughly equal to the annual man-made emissions of Japan, which has the third largest industrial output in the world.

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Climate change has made wildfires twice as common in northeastern Canada as before, researchers have calculated. The summer saw terrible fires in Europe; Greece was particularly badly affected. It’s already clear: 2023 will be one of the worst wildfire years in world history.