Climate Change major reason behind unprecedented forest fires

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The Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department has declared `Climate Change’ as major contributor behind unprecedented fire incidents occurred in different forests of the province. In a detail report prepared by the department on 210 incidents of forest fire occurring during period from May 23, 22 to June 9, 22, it is observed that rising temperature, a key indicator of climate change, caused more evaporation of moisture from ground, drying out the soil and making vegetation more flammable.

At the same, winter snowpacks are melting about a month earlier, meaning that the forests are drier for longer periods of time. “Natural causes include climate change, lightening, temperature transmission through rocks drought and heat continue with rising greenhouse gas emissions, we expect more wildfires in years ahead, especially with the fire seasons getting longer,” warns the report.

As per Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) statistics national rainfall for the month of March 2022 was 62% below normal and ranked 9th driest month since 1961 while rainfall was largely below normal over all parts of the country with Baluchistan (-66%), Sindh (-65%), Punjab (-65%), KP (-66%) & AJK (-48%) all experienced extreme deficient rainfall.

National rainfall for the month of April 2022 was 74%, largely below, normal and ranked 2nd driest month since 1961 while rainfall remained largely below normal over all parts of the country with Punjab (-89%), KP (-79%), Baluchistan (-78%), AJK (-56%) & GB (-51%) all experienced extreme deficient rainfall.

National rainfall for the month of May 2022 was 48.4% largely below normal while rainfall remained largely below normal over all parts of the country with Baluchistan (-91%), Sindh (-91%), GB (-59%), Punjab (-46%), AJK (-37%) & KP (-25%). Therefore, the decrease in rainfall and increase in temperature inordinately is a trigger for fires, the report explains.

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