These are some of the natural and urban landscapes that have been devastated by extreme ‘mega-fires’ as temperatures rise around the world. With ghostly charred remains we see the impact of this climate emergency on forests and areas of natural beauty.
Bushfires are not unusual and are frequently part of a natural ecological cycle as many of these forests evolved alongside fire. But, fuelled by warmer, drier conditions and an overabundance of parched vegetation we have seen an increasing frequency of firestorms which burn more ferociously consuming nearly everything in their path. The intensity and size of the conflagration leads to the creation of its own weather system which trapping heat and generating strong winds, fireballs and lightning strikes becomes unstoppable.
In these high severity burns, shrubs and stumps are reduced to ash, the soil itself changes and even beneath the ground tree roots are burned. The resulting ‘moonscapes’ can take many years to regenerate. Climate change is the main culprit in increasing the intensity of fires but it has not acted alone. A long history of ignoring the advice of indigenous communities and suppressing natural fire, the kind needed to keep forests healthy, has only made the problem worse.
The home of Patto and Gino McDonald
New South Wales
Home with a view of Lake Okanagan after the White Rock Fire