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Climate Adaptation

Extreme Wildfire Impacts to Rise Dramatically by 2100, UN Says

A new report warns the risk will increase by up to 57% and countries aren’t prepared for the humanitarian toll.  

Trees burn during the Caldor Fire in California, Sept. 2, 2021. 

Trees burn during the Caldor Fire in California, Sept. 2, 2021. 

Photographer: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg
Updated on

The United Nations for the first time has assessed the global risk of catastrophic wildfires, finding that as climate change accelerates more of the world will burn, with disastrous consequences for human health, the economy and biodiversity.

“The heating of the planet is turning landscapes into tinderboxes, while more extreme weather means stronger, hotter, drier winds to fan the flames,” wrote the authors of the report, released on Wednesday by the UN Environment Programme and the nonprofit GRID-Arendal. “Too often, our response is tardy, costly, and after the fact, with many countries suffering from a chronic lack of investment in planning and prevention.”