The fires have overshadowed progress being achieved in California, who have long been a beacon for clean, renewable energy. Oregon has evacuated more than 500,000 people.
Wildfires ravaging the west coast are a testament to the ferocity of climate breakdown and the ecological damages it can inflict. High states of preparedness and experience in tackling past emergencies have proven ineffective in the face of firestorms that have been too strong to tame.
This week, President Trump made light of the role Climate Change has played in the fire by disregarding scientists and claiming the Earth will “cool” without proof. He later commented that “I don’t think science knows actually” to the shock of scientists everywhere. In excess of 7,000 fires have started which have destroyed more than 6,300 buildings.
Fires raging through the California and Oregon forests are launching gargantuan amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. The fires began in early August and have destroyed more than 5 million acres to date killing nearly 30 people. The fires are the worst seen for years and have been linked to climate change by scientists.
So much smoke has been emitted, that plumes have been carried into Europe. CAMS predicts that emissions from the fires will reach northern Europe later this week as did aerosols in the last.
According to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) the fires have at times been 100 fold more intense than the 2003-2019 average. This unparalleled event released more carbon than any year before it according to the Global Fires Emissions Database which collected data for 1997 to date.
The fires have destroyed homes and degraded the quality of air to a state not seen before. Fires have tinted the sky red and orange rendering it into an eerie state of almost perpetual darkness.
The US fires are not the only ones.
The Arctic experienced its most damaging wildfire to date, which has been made 600 times more likely due to climate change. Indonesia has also been afflicted by unpredictable wildfires in which the government declared a state of emergency in Borneo. Officials fear their financial capacity to tackle the fires has been dented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazil, Argentina and Australia have all suffered the same fate and will have to come to terms with the reality that they may face the same catastrophe again next year.