Feedback loop means bushfire health impacts likely to be more severe with climate change

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Immediate actions are needed to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change that helps fuel wildfires, a Monash University study says.

A special report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, led by Professor Yuming Guo and Dr. Shanshan Li from the Monash School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, summarizes the enormous impacts of climate change on wildfire seasons and the sequential increased morbidity, mortality, and mental health impacts.
The report, which analyzed numerous studies on wildfires over the past 20 years, says global climate change is fueling the three essential conditions for wildfires—fuel, oxygen and an ignition source. The world is seeing inconsistent rainfall, increased drought and hotter temperatures, leading to more flammable vegetation.
It says the global mean carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from wildfires accounted for about 22 percent of the carbon emission from burning fossil fuels between 1997-2016. The inconsistent approach to global forest management and the conversion of tropical savannas to agricultural lands is damaging the world’s ability to absorb CO2 and cool the climate.
The report says projections suggest that if high greenhouse gas emissions continue, wildfire exposure could substantially increase to over 74 percent of the global …

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