Forest fires are massive chains of fire breakouts in forest regions especially in summers due to an increase in surface temperature. Annually swathes of forest and peat land are destroyed and countless animals perish in flames and smoke. At times the rapid spread of these wildfires reaches the areas inhabited by people and they claim many lives and houses which are set on their path. It’s extremely difficult to control the situation if the fires have consumed acres of land. Often the fire officials lost their lives in their attempt to extinguish the rage of wildfire.
We could see this undeniable destruction with our naked eyes but there’ far more serious issue that lies in the deep layer of our atmosphere. Wildfires accompanied by a blanket of smoke cover the whole region including the nearby cities and towns but seldom we know what this smoke is consists of. The burning of debris releases harmful gases like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and other volatile inorganic compounds. Apart from global warming, these gases cause burning of the eyes, choking, and various skin allergies. In the case of asthma patients inhaling these poisonous gases can even lead to death.
Yet there’s another silent killer hidden behind these gases which we often exclude from this scenario, the particulate matter (PM). These are tiny, lightweight particles of soot which is the most common component in air pollution in cities. Even though vehicles and industries release particulate matter into the air, the smoke from wildfires can lead to their dramatic spike in our atmosphere. These particles when inhaled enters the nasal cavity and eventually settles on the lungs causing various pulmonary disorders. Since we can’t detect the presence of particulates in our atmosphere we won’t take any precautions especially while traveling through busy cities. This in turn causes the degradation of our respiratory system. The majority of people living in metropolitan cities are vulnerable to various respiratory disorders and the shocking fact is that the children are the most affected. Excess inhalation of particulate matter can lead to non-fatal heart attacks in heart patients. These may lead to premature death in people mainly due to heart or lung disease.
In the case of wildfires, the quantity of particulate matter released into the atmosphere is manifold. The animals are more prone to the ill-effects of particulates when compared to humans, especially the smaller animals with sensitive internal organs. The abundance of PM could lead to the slow death of fauna which may, in turn, lead to their extinction.
Human beings were not environment friendly for the past few centuries. As a result, man-made catastrophes were haunting our nature, destroying the natural habitats of flora and fauna. Wildfires are one of them. There were wildfires in the past too but now their rate has increased dramatically. Most of the time it’s clearly due to our careless behavior. In a dry and hot climate, a fragile spark could even create a monstrous wildfire. We should be more careful while we are inside a forest especially during summers. Maybe your cigarette could be the reason for a cataclysmic event that could even be a threat to your dear ones too. Proper handling of fire and alertness could prevent this kind of man-made disaster to a large extend.