California wildfires: A climate lesson for India – editorials



The wildfires which have been raging in Oregon, California and Washington in the United States (US) since mid-August, have burned millions of acres of lands, killed more than 30 people and destr-oyed thousands of homes. With the US elections due in November, the wildfires have also become a key political issue. Last week, Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden warned that “climate change poses an imminent, existential threat to our way of life” and accused President Donald Trump, a climate sceptic, of denying “that reality”.

Mr Biden’s statement linking the wildfires with the climate crisis has wide support. California governor Gavin Newsom said this is a “climate emergency”. Scientists have blamed the peak heatwave and dry winds for fanning the fires, and have warned that such “compound disasters” (when more than one extreme event takes place at the same time, across geographies) are a result of the climate crisis. The US is not the only country that has seen such wildfires. An inquiry has found Australia’s 2019-20 bushfires were likely made worse by the climate crisis, warning that such devastating wildfires are likely to happen again.

While India has not seen such large-scale fires, forest fires (mainly manmade) are not uncommon. But unfortunately, the forest department’s firefighting capabilities are rudimentary. It doesn’t have modern equipment, adequate number of vehicles and enough field staff, which can bolster their rapid response system. In an era of the climate crisis and human encroachment into forest areas, it’s time to learn from the crises of the US and Australia and bolster its firefighting infrastructure.

Recent Articles

Assure procurement of crops at MSP by state govt if Centre falters, demands SAD – india news

Stressing that a lot still needs to be done to secure the future of Punjab’s farmers, the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) on Tuesday...

Pak army chief orders probe into ‘kidnap’ of police chief to force arrest of Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law – world news

Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has ordered an inquiry into the kidnapping of the Sindh police chief by paramilitary Rangers Force...

Badhaai Do: Rajkummar Rao to play a cop, Bhumi Pednekar a PT teacher with national dreams in this film ‘with a big heart’ –...

Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Badhaai Ho went on to become a major hit in 2018 and also won critical acclaim. The film’s makers are...

With 54,044 new cases, India’s Covid-19 tally crosses 7.6 million-mark – india news

About 54,044 new Covid-19 infections were reported in the last 24 hours in India, taking the total tally to 7,651,107. In the same...

Kamala Harris turns 56, Joe Biden says will celebrate her next birthday at White House – world news

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris turned 56 on Tuesday, with the party’s presidential nominee Joe Biden greeting her on the big day,...

Related Stories