Wildfires raged across the world throughout the year 2018. The most disturbing fact was that the wildfires even broke out in Scandinavia to the north of the Arctic Circle. Wildfires occurred in Canada, several US states, Europe, Australia, and Siberia. Many were the worst recorded in modern history. Here is an account of the wildfires of 2018.
2018 British Columbia Wildfires
2018 witnessed massive and long-lasting wildfires in the Canadian province of British Columbia. By the end of June 2018, 560 wildfires had been recorded in the province. Some of the worst of these fires were the Comstock Lake fire, the Tugwell Creek fire, and the Shovel Fire. Both natural causes like lightning and human error were held responsible for these fires. By November 9th, about 3,339,170 acres had burned down by 2,092 wildfires. The smoke arising from these fires covered much of the province. Tourism was negatively affected and even flights had to be canceled. The smoke spread to other parts of Canada and even reached Ireland across the Atlantic.
2018 Wildfires in the United States
2018 Montana Wildfires
In Montana, the wildfire season started around June. Two of the worst fires of the season were the Highway 37 Fire and the Reynolds Lake Fire. The former happened near a Superfund site where the firefighters had to wear respirators to protect themselves from the deadly pollutants. The latter fire was caused by lightning on July 17th. By July 22nd, 1,000 acres had been burned down.
2018 Nevada Wildfires
The US state of Nevada also came under the influence of the deadly wildfires that raged across the US in 2018. The events started around June 2018. The South Sugarloaf Fire that started in the Humboldt National Forest in Nevada burned an area of around 945.01 square km. It was started by lightning. Another Nevada wildfire was the Upper Colony Fire that was triggered by overheated truck brakes catching fire and spreading it to the dry grass underneath. It started on June 17th and burned an area of 5 square km before it was brought under control.
2018 California Wildfires
California was one of the worst-affected US states in 2018 in terms of the number of wildfires and their effects on the environment and economy. A total of 8,434 fires broke out in the state including the Woolsey Fire, Hill Fire, and Camp Fire among others resulting in a total burnt area of around 1,890,438 acres. Over $3.5 billion USD worth of damages were incurred due to the fires. Many lives, both human and non-human were lost due to the wildfires.
Wildfires in Other US States
Oregon also became a victim to wildfires in 2018. The Klondike Fire, Boxcar Fire, Jack Knife Fire, and the Graham Fire are some of the wildfires that occurred in Oregon in 2018. The Trail Mountain Fire, Dollar Ridge Fire, Pole Creek Fire, and the West Valley Fire raged through parts of Utah in the summer of 2018. The state of Washington also came under the grip of several wildfires in the same season.
2018 Russian Wildfires
In the other end of the world, Siberia too did not manage to escape from the wrath of nature. Dry, warm conditions in the region were the perfect setting for destructive wildfires to break out. By mid-July, the fires had become so prominent that even satellites reaching North America could see the smoke from the fires. On July 24th, the smoke had even crossed the Canada-US border to reach Washington.
2018 Wildfires in Europe
2018 Attica Wildfires
European countries also came under the grip of wildfires in 2018. A series of wildfires raged through the coastal areas of Attica in Greece during the 2018 European heat wave. By September 12th, 99 people died due to these fires and innumerable animal lives were also lost. These wildfires were regarded as the second deadliest wildfire event in the current century. A large-scale evacuation was carried out. Hundreds of people were rescued from the sea while some even died by drowning when a rescue boat capsized in the sea. Authorities investigating the event have claimed that arson could be the cause of the deadly wildfire. Extreme climate conditions and illegal constructions of buildings also added fuel to the fire.
2018 Wildfires In Scandinavia
Wildfires in the summer of 2018 destroyed massive tracts of forests throughout Sweden. They are regarded as the most serious in the nation in modern history. Unusually warm and dry summers are regarded as the primary reason behind these fires. May 2018 and July 2018 were the warmest May and July in the recorded history of the country. Most of these wildfires were initiated by disposable barbecues while lightning strikes also caused some of the wildfires. Other Scandinavian countries like Norway, Denmark, and Finland also experienced wildfires in summer 2018.
2018 Wildfires In The United Kingdom
Record-breaking wildfires broke out in the United Kingdom in summer 2018. The two largest fires at Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill burned around 18 square km each. Most of these fires occurred during the 2018 heatwave in the United Kingdom when temperatures crossing 30 °C were recorded for several days in June, the hottest since 1995.
2018 Australian Bushfire Season
Changes in climate also led to an unusually high rate of bushfires in Australia. The country experienced warmer summers than the previous years and an abnormally warm and dry winter. These factors led to the creation of ideal situations for a fire to break out. As a result, wildfires raged through the southern and eastern coastal areas of the country.
Will The Situation Worsen In 2019?
The 2018 wildfires once again drew our attention to the fact that the earth is warming up quickly. Human activities leading to climate change is the biggest reason behind the rising global temperatures. If such activities are not brought under control, it is possible that wildfires will increase in number, intensity, and destructiveness in the coming years.