Forest fires ignite around the world

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Pine trees burn on a hill at the Dixie Fire in Twain, Calif. On July 26, 2021.

Pine trees burn on a hill at the Dixie Fire in Twain, Calif. On July 26, 2021.
Photo: Robyn Beck / AFP (Getty Images)

Geologists have debated whether to call this epoch the anthropocene, a geological period where humans are the dominant force reshaping the planet rather than natural processes.

It’s a fair discussion, but I think we better call it the Pyrocene. The flames begin to define life on Earth. The summer of 2021, in particular, has been a seemingly endless streak of news about various places on fire to the point where it’s almost easier to keep track of which places are on fire. are not on fire than those that are.

Humans of course have a role to play in these fires. Climate change has increased the risk of large, destructive fires in heat things up, which dries up trees and grasses. In some places, notably in the western part of North America, a century of fire suppression has also left forests overloaded with fuel. Although these risks have increased, people have increasingly moved to the forests. There is even a world for where millions of people now live: the forest-urban interface. Infrastructures such as power lines have any further increased the risk of starting fires which then explode in hot, dry conditions and overcrowded forests.

These factors combined to give rise to the pyrocene. And as this summer shows, no forest is safe from igniting. Here are some of the notable fires and areas that are burning right now.

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