A landmark report that came out earlier this week warned extreme weather events would only become more common due to climate change, and seeing the world up in flames is really the only proof anyone needs.
Record-breaking wildfires are currently blazing around the world. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), more than 100 large fires are burning across 14 states, with the majority in California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. In total, these fires have scorched 2.4 million acres. (Wildfires have burned a total of 3.9 acres in 2021 thus far.)
In California, numerous fires are still active—one of them being the Dixie Fire, which is now the largest single fire in the history of the state. According to the Associated Press, its destroyed more than 550 homes. Unfortunately, after blazing for one month, firefighters have only been able to contain 31 percent. Wildfires have also broken out in Greece, Russia, Canada, Turkey, Italy, Spain, and Lebanon.
“This climate-change connection is straightforward: warmer temperatures dry out fuels. In areas with abundant and very dry fuels, all you need is a spark,” Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University, told the New York Times. “Nature creates the perfect conditions for fire, as long as people are there to start the fires. But then climate change seems to also load the dice toward more fire in the future.”
A long list of wildfires that only seems to be growing can leave you feeling incredibly helpless. The good news is there are plenty of ways you can help those affected by the fires, as well as prevent them in the future.
How to Help During the Wildfires and Beyond
1. Donate to the Red Cross, or Join Relief Efforts
When you donate to the Red Cross, those funds help shelter families who have lost their homes, provide meals, deliver relief supplies, provide medical care, support emergency responders, and more.
If you’re in an affected area and would like to volunteer, that’s also an option. You can apply to be part of the Disaster Action Team (DAT), which helps and responds to “over 60,000 emergencies every year.”
2. Work with Airbnb to Host a Family
If you have the space, Airbnb allows you to host a free stay in times of crisis—including “providing comfort to a family evacuating because of a wildfire.” For more information, visit the Airbnb website.
3. Make a Donation to Help Animals in Need
4. Provide a Hot Meal
5. Take Small Steps Every Day to Better the Planet
These wildfires will only continue to hurt people and the planet if we don’t take climate change seriously. Take small steps every day to help stop climate change, from buying less and eating less meat to using your voice. Teaching others how to live more sustainably could make a world of difference.
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