Neither human-caused climate change nor the El Niño climate phenomenon were determining factors in the devastating forest fires that killed more than 130 people in Chile this month, according to the results of an international study. was killed revealed Thursday.

Inappropriate land use had a major impact, he found, with the expansion of monocultures of pine and eucalyptus in recent decades — much more flammable. and the development of informal settlements in forested areas.

“Fire risk is increasing in particular due to current land management practices,” said a study by researchers from South America and Europe for World Weather Attribution (WWA) in the affected zone – a scientific project that Attempts to predict how climate change affects intensity. and the likelihood of a particular extreme weather event.

On February 2, several fires broke out simultaneously around the coastal city of Viña del Mar in the Chilean coastal region of Valparaíso.

The fires killed at least 133 people and destroyed nearly 7,000 homes in Chile’s deadliest natural disaster since the 2010 earthquake and tsunami.

The WWA study found that the climatic conditions favorable to fires in the region — high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds — have not been significantly altered by climate change, nor by El Niño.

That doesn’t mean the threat of global warming shouldn’t be taken seriously, the researchers said.

“Until the world stops burning fast the risk of fire … will increase,” a WWA statement said summarizing the findings.

“Increasing risk of fire hazard weather conditions attributable to human induced fire. It needs to be taken very seriously.”

Chilean authorities are investigating whether the fire was deliberately set.

The WWA said that to reduce existing measures were insufficient, and should include “better spatial planning”, better coordination, and involving communities in fire prevention.

© 2024 AFP

Reference: Climate change not to blame for Chile’s deadly fires: Researchers (2024, February 23) Retrieved February 23, 2024, from https://phys.org/news/2024-02-climate-blame-deadly-chile.html went

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