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Pictures From a Planet That's on Fire

Fires are raging from Greece to Siberia to California
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2021 9:29 AM CDT
Pictures From a Planet That's on Fire
In this photo from Sunday, Aug. 1, people run away from the fire-devastated Sirtkoy village, near Manavgat, Antalya, Turkey.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – Writing for Time, Ciara Nugent doesn't pull any punches: "The World Has Been On Fire For the Past Month," reads her headline. But it's an assertion she backs up with photos from locations scattered across the northern hemisphere, from Greece and Italy to Siberia and our own shores. That includes Turkey, which has no operational firefighting planes, and northern Finland, which only sees wildfires infrequently and last month suffered its worst wildfire in 40 years. In the US, Greenville, California, has been turned into a "moonscape" by the Dixie fire. But Nugent expresses particular worry about Siberia due to the double whammy created when fires accelerate permafrost melting, which releases methane into the air—leading to a cycle of greenhouse gases pushing up temps and making conditions for such fires more favorable. More:

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  • "We're talking about the apocalypse, I don't know how to describe it." So said the head of the coast guard in the town of Aidipsos on Evia, Greece, where 653 people were evacuated from beaches by sea after all other routes were blocked by fires, reports the AP.
  • And it's a hot apocalypse: "We are going through the 10th day of a major heat wave affecting our entire country, the worst heat wave in terms of intensity and duration of the last 30 years," Greek Fire Service Brig. Gen. Aristotelis Papadopoulos said. Temps were as high as 113; they're down to 104 on Friday.
  • The Moscow Times reports on the scope of fires in Siberia, where 13.4 million hectares of land have burned; that's an area about the size of Greece. Smoke from the Sakha forest fires stretch over 5.3 million square kilometers, which is an area bigger than the EU.
  • "Flooding and intense rains in the north, fires in the south—the country has been split in two," said the head of Italy's civil protection authority, per the Guardian. It reports the fires in the south are about three times bigger than the annual average.
  • Satellite-based record-keeping of the carbon emissions caused by fires began in 2003, and what those satellites recorded in July is the worst yet, reports the Guardian. They logged the release of 343 megatonnes of carbon, about 20% over the previous July high, recorded in 2014.
(Read more wildfires stories.)

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