The world’s forests are on fire. This is what the latest NASA. image shows. Color ranges from red where the fire count is low to yellow where number of fires is large. Every dot shows an hotspot detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the Terra and Aqua satellites over a 10-day period. Fires are more intense at the border of the biggest forests, such as Amazon, Congo and Siberia, and where the forests are already fragmented and the human settlements are more dense.
A deadly combination by human activities, conversion of natural forests into industrial plantations, and climate change is leading to a boom of forest fires. Deforestation itself increases the risk of fires, since degraded forests are less humid and more subject to burn.
Like in a vicious circle, when a forest disappear, rainfalls decrease, and higher temperatures and droughts increase the risk of fires. And since forests are also a major carbon storage, their distraction will also lead to further global warming. Forests currently absorb about a quarter of fossil fuel carbon emissions, but deforestation and forest fires could revert this mitigating function.