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 Chile – location

Link between climate change and wildfires in Chile, with a focus on the recent deadly fires in central Chile

  • Deadly wildfires like those that burned through central Chile and killed at least 133 people this month will become more likely in the South American country as climate change makes the world hotter and drier.

  • The fires were Chile's deadliest natural disaster since a 2010 earthquake that killed about 500 people

  • Strong winds and high temperatures helped drive the rapid advance of the blazes into populated areas around the cities of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso.

Climate Change's Impact:

  • Higher Temperatures: Climate change leads to rising global temperatures and increasingly frequent and severe heatwaves in Chile

  • This creates drier conditions making vegetation more susceptible to burning.

  • Reduced Rainfall: Climate change alters rainfall patterns, with many areas in Chile experiencing prolonged droughts

  • This further dries out landscapes, creating more flammable fuel.

  • Stronger Winds: Changes in weather patterns can contribute to stronger winds, which aid in the rapid spread of wildfires once they start.

The Recent Wildfires:

  • Megafires: The 2023-2024 Chilean wildfires burned through thousands of hectares, making them "megafires." 

  • These are extremely large and destructive fires, a trend that's becoming more common with climate change.

  • Record Temperatures: The wildfires were exacerbated by scorching heatwaves with record temperatures in some regions, a direct consequence of climate change.

  • Extreme Drought: Central Chile has been grappling with a significant, multi-year drought, which primed the landscape for the devastating fires.

Specific Factors Linking Climate Change and Chilean Wildfires:

  • Human Activity: While climate change creates the conditions, human activities often ignite these fires

  • In Chile, sources include poorly managed logging, agricultural burning going out of control, and even arson.

  • Landscape Management: Past forestry practices such as the monoculture of non-native, highly flammable species like pine and eucalyptus contribute to increased fire risk.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Chile UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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