Last month was worst July for global wildfires since 2003: report

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Researchers report that last month was the worst July for wildfires around the world since at least the year 2003.

According to The Guardian, scientists from the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service found that the fires released 343 megatonnes of carbon during the month – a measure that’s approximately a fifth higher than the previous global peak for July in 2014.

“This stands out by a clear margin,” Mark Parrington, a senior scientist for the service, told the outlet on Friday. “The July global total this year is the highest since our records began in 2003.”

While The Guardian notes that more than half of that number was the result of wildfires in North America and Siberia, the Mediterranean has seen wildfire activity on an astonishing scale.

Flames burn on the mountain near Limni village on the island of Evia, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Athens, Greece, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. Greece Tuesday grappled with the worst heatwave in decades that strained the national power supply and fueled wildfires near Athens and elsewhere in southern Greece. As the heat wave scorching the eastern Mediterranean intensified, temperatures reached 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) in parts of the Greek capital.
(AP Photo/Michael Pappas)

In Greece, wildfires continued to threaten homes, businesses and parklands amidst the country’s worst heat wave in three decades. 

A 38-year-old volunteer firefighter was killed by a falling utility pole just north of Athens on Friday.

Thousands of residents and vacationers have fled and ferries evacuated 1,153 people from a seaside village and beaches on Evia early Saturday morning.

People watch a wildfire near Akcayaka village in Milas, Mugla in southwest Turkey, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. A wildfire that reached the compound of a coal-fueled power plant in southwest Turkey and forced evacuations by boats and cars, was contained on Thursday after raging for some 11 hours, officials and media reports said.
(AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)

More than 100 raging wildfires broke out in Greece over the past few days and firefighters have arrived from the U.S., France, Ukraine, Cyprus, Croatia, Sweden and Israel to help fight the flames. More were arriving on Saturday from Romania, Switzerland, Egypt and the Czech Republic.

At least 20 people have been injured in the fire nationwide and three people were arrested Friday on suspicion of starting fires – in two cases intentionally.

In nearby Turkey, hundreds of fires that have been labeled the worst in decades have swept across the southern coast, killing eight people and forcing the evacuations of tens of thousands.

Firefighters and volunteers have a briefing as they work at the scene of forest fire at Gorny Ulus area west of Yakutsk, in Russia, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021. Wildfires in Russia’s vast Siberia region endangered several villages Saturday and prompted authorities to evacuate residents of some areas. In northeastern Siberia, 93 active forest fires burned across 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres) of Sakha-Yakutia, officials said, making it the worst affected region of Russia.
(AP Photo/Ivan Nikiforov)

Massive fires have also been burning across Siberia in Russia’s north for weeks, endangering several villages on Saturday and prompting evacuations there. 

In Siberia’s northeast, 93 active forest fires have burned across 2.8 million acres of Sakha-Yakutia; sweltering temperatures lasting weeks have stoked the fires there as well. 

The U.S., which has also seen record-breaking heat and crippling climate-fueled drought this summer, is in similar circumstances and the National Interagency Fire Center reported Friday that 107 large fires have burned more than 2 million acres across the West. 

More than 23,700 wildland firefighters and support personnel are working to put out those blazes but wildfire season is far from over in many parts of the world.

A utility pole burns as the Dixie Fire tears through the Greenville community of Plumas County, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. The fire leveled multiple historic buildings and dozens of homes in central Greenville.
(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

This weekend, residents of the state of California are on edge after the Dixie Fire – the largest current wildland blaze in the nation and the third-largest in recorded state history – incinerated much of the gold rush-era town of Greenville and menaced thousands of homes in the northern Sierra Nevada.

The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office told Sacramento’s FOX 40 that at least eight area residents were unaccounted for in the fire.

The state is on track to surpass last year’s fire season: the worst in recent recorded history with more than 4 million acres burned.

The National Weather Service said Saturday that while the Northwest is expected to see wet and cooler conditions, above normal temperatures will be observed “from California and the Southwest to the central Plains and into New England” with elevated fire weather conditions issued Saturday for the northern High Plains on Montana and the northern Great Basin on Sunday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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