Published: 12th August 2021
What The FAQ: Are the wildfires in Greece and Algeria a threat to all of us?
Wildfires are raging in Greece, Algeria and California. But can this wildfire affect you? We answer all your questions
After Greece, it's now Algeria that's suffering a raging wildfire. At least 25 Algerian soldiers were killed on Tuesday as they attempted to extinguish the wildfires raging in the northeastern provinces of Tizi Ouzou and Bejaia, the Algerian Defense Ministry said. California too has been up in flames in what is being called the largest single wildfire in recorded history. But can this wildfire affect you? We answer all your questions here.
What is a wildfire?
A wildfire, bushfire, wildland fire or rural fire is an unplanned, unwanted, uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation starting in rural areas and urban areas.
Why have wildfires become so frequent across the world?
There's not one but a hoard of reasons why the world has been experiencing an increase in the number and frequency of wildfires in recent years. The factors range from human-induced factors, wind levels, vegetation, humidity levels and most of all climate change, said environmentalists.
What is the current situation in Greece?
As Greece's massive wildfires were being tamed on Tuesday, the country's civil protection chief strongly defended the country's firefighting efforts, saying every resource was thrown into the fight against what he described as the fire service's worst challenge ever. Nikos Hardalias said authorities “truly did what was humanly possible” against blazes that destroyed tens of thousands of hectares (acres) of forest and hundreds of homes, cost a volunteer firefighter his life and forced over 60,000 people to flee.
How is Algeria coping with the fire?
Wildfires erupted simultaneously on Monday overnight across 14 Algerian provinces, killing at least seven civilians and injuring dozens of others, the ministry said in a statement, which described the fires as caused by "criminal act." Troops and firefighters worked together to save some 110 families threatened by the blazes, it said. Earlier on Tuesday, Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud also described the fires as a "criminal act," demanding competent authorities start an investigation to determine the causes and bring the "criminals" to justice.
The minister assured that the government will compensate all residents who suffered material losses from the wildfires, noting that a delegation of 140 experts will be sent to the province of Tizi Ouzou to assess the extent of damages and losses.
When did India last see its wildfire?
The Simplipal forest fire happened in Odisha in March-April of 2021. The fires have affected the ecologically sensitive Simplipal Biosphere Reserve and caused widespread damage to the local environment as well as property and livelihoods. The other recent catastrophe occurred in the Dzüko Valley in Nagaland and Manipur in the northeast of India. It began on December 29, 2020. The wildfire resulted in widespread environmental damage in the ecologically sensitive region of the Dzüko Valley, destroying 200 acres of old-growth forest. On January 9, 2021, Nagaland government officers stated that the fire had been brought under control and it was confirmed to have been doused by January 11, 2021.