The likelihood of extreme wildfires – or “megafires” – across the world is expected to increase as global temperatures rise, a new study says.
The research, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, uses satellite data to identify the 500 most extreme wildfires in recent years. Almost a third of these megafires caused deaths, burned down homes, or were declared a disaster by a national government.
Using climate change projections for the middle of this century, the study suggests there will be a 35% increase in the days with high danger of fire across the world. But the some regions will see even larger increases, the researchers say, including western states of the US, southeastern Australia, the Mediterranean and southern Africa.