Featured image for “Appeal for Action Against Wildfires”
February 5, 2024

Appeal for Action Against Wildfires

The catastrophe in Chile, in which 112 people have died so far in 180 forest fires, has shocked and moved Plant-for-the-Planet. Chile’s President Gabriel Boric has announced a two-day national mourning in memory of the victims.

Once again, this tragedy, which devastated entire neighborhoods, reminds us of the urgency of counteracting the climate crisis. The consequences of the climate crisis, such as severe heatwaves and droughts, are leading to an increase in forest fires of this magnitude. There were already fires in Western Australia and 30 major wildfires in Colombia in January this year.

Proactive action is needed to minimize the risk of further disasters of this kind. Effective fire management is crucial to halting forest loss by 2030, as governments recently pledged to do at COP 28 in Dubai. “In the long term, we can only do this by tackling the causes and reducing emissions. But we also need to improve prevention,” Felix Finkbeiner, founder of Plant-for-the-Planet, told Frankfurter Rundschau and the Klimareporter. Instead of monocultures, mixed forests should be created, early warning systems should be expanded and, especially in the tropics, more emphasis should be placed on firebreaks. “Although trees are sacrificed in the process, this method is very effective and cost-efficient. Trainings for emergency services and residents in the areas are also very important measures,” Felix continues. 

The climate crisis is one of the biggest threats to forests. And only by stopping the climate crisis can we save the forests we need to stop the climate crisis.” Felix Finkbeiner, founder of Plant-for-the-Planet

Plant-for-the-Planet also wants to make a contribution to fighting forest fires. In June 2023, the foundation presented the app FireAlert. It delivers notifications about forest fires in real time to smartphones, via text message, WhatsApp and e-mail, based on NASA and ESA satellite data. An area of over 1294 million hectares in 70 countries is currently being monitored with the FireAlert app – an area larger than Brazil. 

Nevertheless, it remains to be said: The most advanced technology will not help if battling the causes of the climate crisis is not our priority No 1.

Photo: Illustration of Wildfires.