Forest fire: a real sore

In summer, fires are one of the biggest dangers to face. In Italy, this problem has become a real “sore”. In the last fifteen years 500thousand hectares of forest have burnt, and this turns out in an ecological disaster for the peninsula, and a great economic damage.

This phenomenon doesn’t only concern Italy: forest fires are becoming more and more frequent all over the world and they are difficult to extinguish. In 2016, over 1600 forest fires burned Europe until the middle of August, with alarming situations in Spain and France.

In addition, in June of the same year, the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring System (CAMS), which detects emissions from forest fires around the world, reported intense flames in Siberia and the Arctic with the destruction of an area as large as 100,000 football fields. . [1] The situation is also very serious in the Amazon where, in 2019, 70,000 fires hit numerous Brazilian states. Finally, according to NASA, the number of fires and the amount of land burned in the western United States have steadily increased since the 1950s. [2]

Definition and causes of a forest fire

“a forest fire is a fire which tends to expand on wooded and bushy areas, comprehending eventual anthropized infrastructures comprehended in said areas, or over cultivated and uncultivated lands and pastures adjacent to the areas”.

The causes of a fire forest can be different. There can be:

  • Natural fire, caused from storms, but they seldom happen
  • The consequences of the forest fires

Negligent or involuntary fires, caused by men through agricultural and forest activities (to burn stubbles or to renew pastures and uncultivated) or from or from the abandonment of cigarette butts and matches, or from creative activities such as barbecues that are not well extinguished or the throwing of firecrackers;

malicious or voluntary fires, or fires that are started voluntarily in order to use the destroyed area for personal interests that may be related, for example, to construction or poaching; there are also cases of arson caused by behavioral problems such as pyromania and mythomania. It is important to emphasize that weather is also an important variable for fires, as temperature, humidity, rainfall and wind affect the intensity and speed of propagation. The worst fires, in fact, occur in the summer period precisely because of the high temperatures, dry weather and intense winds.

Forest fire can bring various consequences, concerning plants, animals but also settlements and communications. As far as animal and plant species are concerned, the speed of recovery of a forest depends on the type and frequency of the fires. With intense and frequent fires, only those species called "pyro-resistant", which are capable of surviving fire, can survive. However, the species quickly return, as forest fires alter living conditions and allow the spread of new species. In fact, the sparser structure of the forest and the increase in nutrients (in the short term) create good living conditions for many animal and plant species. For example, some trees regenerate very quickly and, a few years after a fire, the number of animal and plant species laying on the burned surface is higher than the number present in an intact forest.

However, although there may be positive effects on the repopulation of burnt surfaces, a fire is a big problem, especially in terms of safety. In fact, forest fires usually occur on rapid slopes, often causing rock falls. In addition, the ash layer deposited on the surface is waterproof and, in the first two years after the fire, rainwater struggles to penetrate the soil, causing erosion.

Fires in Oristano

These days, the theme of forest fires is getting hotter due to the flames that have broken out, starting from last July 24, in Sardinia, in the province of Oristano. After three days of fire, an estimated 20,000 hectares of woods, fields and vegetation reduced to ashes, with houses, farms and other buildings destroyed and also many dead animals. The areas that have suffered the heaviest consequences are those of the central-western side. A state of emergency was declared in thirteen municipalities and it is estimated that around 1,500 people have had to leave their homes.

“The situation is disastrous and we are still fighting to tame the flames - declared Roberto Serra of Confagricoltura - but we are truly in an apocalyptic scenario”. Ettore Crobu, on the other hand, president of the order of agronomists and forestry doctors, said that this is an "unprecedented event, with extremely high damage both economically and environmentally".

It is still too early to understand what gave rise to the fire: the investigations of the regional Forestry Corps, in fact, are only just at the beginning.

Translated by doctor Oshun De feo

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  • L'Autore

    Lorena Radici

    Lorena Radici studia Relazioni Internazionali presso l'Università degli Studi di Milano, curriculum: International Cooperation and Human Rights. Nel 2019 ha conseguito una laurea in Scienze della Mediazione Linguistica presso la Scuola Superiore per Mediatori Linguistici (SSML) di Varese, specializzandosi nel campo della traduzione e dell'interpretariato in inglese, spagnolo e cinese.

    Durante il suo percorso di studi alla triennale ha avuto l'opportunità di svolgere dei tirocini di traduzione verso la lingua inglese con la redazione di VareseNews e con l'associazione culturale della località del Sacro Monte di Varese. Sempre alla SSML ha poi frequentato il corso di alta formazione in Mediazione Culturale.

    La sua passione per le Relazioni Internazionali è rivolta soprattutto al settore dei diritti umani, dell'immigrazione e della sicurezza internazionale. In particolare, è interessata ai temi riguardanti la criminalità organizzata globale.

    In Mondo Internazionale ricopre il ruolo di Autrice nelle aree tematiche "Organizzazioni Internazionali" e "Ambiente e Sviluppo" e il ruolo di Revisore di Bozze.

    Lorena Radici studies International Relations at the University of Milan, curriculum: International Cooperation and Human Rights. In 2019 she got a degree in Sciences of Language Mediation at SSML in Varese, where she studied Translation and Interpretating in English, Spanish and Chinese.

    During the degree course at SSML she had the opportunity to do an internship in translation with VareseNews and a cultural association of Sacro Monte. She also attended a course of Higher Education in Cultural Mediation.

    For what regards International Relations, she is interested above all in human rights, immigration and international security. Particularly, she is interested in topics related to global criminal organizations.

    Within Mondo Internazionale she is an Author for the thematic areas of "International Organizations" and "Environment and Development" and she also serves as Proofreader.


Sections Environment & Development Society


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