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How wildfires affect our lives and the air we breathe.

Come gli incendi influiscono sulle nostre vite e sull'aria che respiriamo. - Erynoole

What is a wildfire?

A wildfire is a rush of fire and flames that develops in an area of ​​combustible vegetation, such as forests, woods and even deserts.

Main causes

The main causes of fires are lightning, volcanic eruptions, dry weather and human activities (arson, discarded cigarettes, malfunctioning or damaged power lines...).

Fires and the environment

In recent decades, fires have started to develop more easily, due to the climate changes that are affecting our planet, larger areas of vegetation are becoming increasingly drier and this is the ideal condition for the rapid spread of a fire .

Fires can have disastrous effects on the environment, affecting animals and plants, agriculture and air pollution.

Let's focus on the last point: air pollution. Fires release enormous quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is the main cause of the greenhouse effect, and the increase in the by-products of fire in the atmosphere, more precisely in the troposphere, can increase the concentration of ozone beyond the levels of safety. Fire debris can contaminate soil and water supplies, increasing the risk of danger to the community living in the nearby area and also the pollutants emitted by fires can be displaced by the wind and reach areas far away from the epicenter of the fires. compromising the health of even more communities.

Fires and human health

In the lower part of the atmosphere, that is the air we breathe, the effects of fires are very dangerous for human health, fires release carbon monoxide and suspended particles into the air.

Carbon monoxide: is an odorless and invisible gas, the concentration of this molecule is higher near the fire, the inhalation of this gas is very dangerous because it enters the respiratory system, once it reaches the lungs it is absorbed into the bloodstream and in a very short time it can reach the vital organs of the human body, reducing the oxygen supply to them and causing headaches, confusion, nausea, visual impairment, coma and even death.

Suspended Particulate: consists of dust particles and liquid droplets. There is a differentiation based on the particle diameter, PM 10 for particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less and PM 2.5 for particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less.

PM 10: are usually composed of heavier and more toxic materials which lead to a short-term effect with a stronger impact on the human body such as respiratory problems, respiratory tract infections and if they are composed from very toxic materials (asbestos, chromates ...) the development of cancer cells.

PM 2.5: are smaller particles that travel deeper into the respiratory system, creating negative long-term health effects, such as asthma, cardiopulmonary disease and lung cancer.

Fires are a serious problem, both for human and environmental health. Every year we see and hear about fires, more than the year before, this is a trend we need to reverse, too many people have lost their homes and even their lives to fires, and too many forests, crops and natural areas are been burned, we have to solve this situation in which we find ourselves and the first step to do so is to be aware of the problem and work together to find a solution, starting from a greater respect and consideration for the environment in which we live.


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