Sustainable Living

Climate Change Collective: Changing temperatures and forest fires


Climate change is an undeniable reality with far-reaching consequences, and one of its most devastating manifestations is the increasing incidence and severity of forest fires. These catastrophic events have not only taken a toll on our natural landscapes but also pose significant threats to human lives, wildlife habitats, and the overall stability of ecosystems.

I remember forest fires happening only rarely as a kid, a bit more often as a young adult, and then in the mid 2010’s it seemed like something changed. Several times we were camping and the forest fires were so close and huge, the air so smoky, that it felt like we were breathing air straight from our campfire. People were evacuated, homes lost, and many acres of land were burned. Since that time it seems that intense forest fires, including weeks of smoke per year causing a need to stay indoors, has become the norm.

Source: Pixabay Ylvers

In this blog post I’m looking at the relationship between climate change and forest fires and examining the underlying factors, impacts, and potential solutions that might steer us out of this environmental crisis.

This month for our Climate Change Collective conversation, we are looking at why it’s a big deal that our climate is changing. JamieAdStories writes about this in Warmer Weather – What’s Not To Like.

Our Climate Change Collective series begins with one blogger writing a topical post and the Climate Change Collective participants writing a response post, sharing thoughts or more information on the topic. Learn more about our Climate Change Collective at the end of this post and find our first in the series here: Climate Change Collective–What You Can Do.

Rising temperatures and drying landscapes

One of the primary drivers behind the intensification of forest fires is the rising global temperatures caused by climate change. As Jamie noted in his post, perceptions of climate change vary from person to person: some believe it’s not true or maybe a normal weather cycle, some might think that warmer weather might be nice, and then there are those who are very worried for our future. But the evidence is clear, our planet is warming and it is having serious consequences, including increasing incidences of forest fires. As warmer temperatures accelerate evaporation rates, this leads to drier vegetation, soil, and forests. This drier landscape becomes highly susceptible to ignition, providing the ideal conditions for fires to spread rapidly and uncontrollably.

Additionally, increased temperatures also contribute to the lengthening of fire seasons, allowing fires to occur outside their typical timeframes and increasing the overall fire risk. This has been evident in my area of the world, particularly this year, where we had air quality warnings due to smoke in May this year, so much earlier than usual.

Source: Pixabay Engin_Akyurt

Extreme weather patterns

Climate change has disrupted traditional weather patterns, resulting in more frequent and severe weather events. Droughts, heatwaves, and intense storms have become increasingly common, exacerbating the risk of forest fires. Droughts reduce moisture content in vegetation, making it more susceptible to ignition and facilitating fire spread. Conversely, heavy rainfall followed by extended dry periods can result in an abundance of vegetation, providing ample fuel for fires when ignition sources are present.

Impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity

Forest fires caused by climate change have profound ecological consequences. They destroy vast expanses of forests, displacing countless species and disrupting delicate ecosystems. Many plants and animals struggle to adapt to the rapid changes, leading to the loss of biodiversity and long-term ecological imbalances. Furthermore, the carbon emissions released during forest fires contribute to the greenhouse effect, perpetuating the cycle of climate change and further exacerbating its effects.

Human lives and economic consequences

Forest fires not only impact the natural world but also pose significant risks to human lives and property. The loss of homes, infrastructure, and livelihoods devastates local communities, often taking years to recover. Smoke from forest fires can have severe health implications, leading to respiratory problems and exacerbating pre-existing conditions. Moreover, the economic costs of fighting wildfires and post-fire restoration efforts are staggering, putting additional strain on already burdened resources. As noted in the JamieAdStories post, there are areas of the planet that are already becoming uninhabitable leading to mass migrations due to climate change.

“We all know global warming

Sends temperatures sky high,.

So why do many people

Still climate change deny?”


Where do we go from here?

Addressing the intersection of climate change and forest fires requires a multi-faceted approach that focuses on both mitigation and adaptation strategies. Governments must prioritize reducing greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning to renewable energy sources, and promoting sustainable land management practices. These actions can help alleviate the long-term effects of climate change and decrease the severity of future fire events.

The link between climate change and forest fires is undeniable, and urgent action is needed to address this pressing issue. As we continue to witness the devastating consequences of these fires on our environment, communities, and economies, it is crucial to prioritize climate change mitigation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and implement sustainable practices. By fostering a global commitment to combating climate change and promoting responsible environmental stewardship, we can hope to create a future where the destructive synergy between climate change and forest fires is replaced by a harmonious coexistence with our planet.

About the Climate Change Collective

Climate Change Collective
Photo Credit: Michelle at Boomer Eco Crusader

The Climate Change Collective was born out of an exchange that took place between Michelle and Jamie in the comments section of a Jamie Ad Stories blog post. Jamie and Michelle both care deeply about the impact of human activity on our planet and wanted to find a way to keep the climate change message top of mind for everyone. A tweet was sent out, bloggers responded, and we’ve all now teamed up to create the Climate Change Collective!

The idea is simple. The members of the collective will take turns writing a monthly blog post sharing their concerns and unique perspective about climate change. After the post is published, the rest of the group will keep the conversation going by sharing a link to the post on their blogs along with their thoughts and ideas. If you’re a like-minded blogger and would like to join our collective, please get in touch.

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  • Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader)

    All of the forest fire news is distressing. As we’ve spent the last 10 days on Vancouver Island, we’ve been shocked by how dry everything is. We saw a news report last night about the severe drought conditions in Alberta, yet every farmer they identified denied it was related to climate change. Sigh. What will it take?

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      We’ve had so little rain out our way it’s shocking water restrictions didn’t come in sooner. I’m sadly not surprised that the Alberta farmers didn’t relate the drought to climate change, but that is still disheartening to hear.

  • JamieAdStories

    Fascinating to read the perspective of someone who is affected by these fires seasonally. I think we need to share our concerns far and wide as governments need to make urgent changes now. Thanks for a thought-provoking response.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      So true, Jamie! We really need to keep communicating with our governments about how urgent these matters are.

  • Molly | Transatlantic Notes

    It’s so sad to see more and more forest fires happening; it seems like there is a new one every couple on days on the news. Many people are being impacted by them even if they don’t live nearby and it boggles my mind that there still are some people (particularly in government positions) who think we can be slow to act!

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Rachel! Seeing these forest fires grow every year is a scary thing.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!