Spreading Like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires
23 February 2022
Across Earth’s ecosystems, wildfires are growing in intensity and spreading in range. From Australia to Canada, the United States to China, across Europe and the Amazon, wildfires are wreaking havoc on the environment, wildlife, human health, and infrastructure. Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Fires is the first report by UNEP and GRIDArendal to take stock of the scale and extent of the global wildfire crisis and has been commissioned in support of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. Over 50 experts from research institutions, government agencies, and international organisations from around the globe have contributed to this report. Their findings are that while the situation is certainly extreme, it is not yet hopeless. This report makes it clear that the true cost of wildfires – financial, social, and environmental – extends for days, weeks, and even years after the flames subside. To better prepare ourselves and limit the widespread damage done by wildfires, we need to take heed of the clear warnings and recommendations for future action outlined in this report. We must work with nature, communities, harness local knowledge, and invest money and political capital in reducing the likelihood of wildfires starting in the first place and the risk of damage and loss that comes when they do. The report concludes with recommended steps for policymakers.