Yes, fire contributes to global warming. Scientists say that deforestation caused by fire contributes to about one-fifth of the greenhouse effect. Additionally, black carbon (or soot) is released into the atmosphere when fires occur. When these fires are considered collectively, the amount of carbon dioxide thus released is equal to 50 percent of those coming from combusted fossil fuels.
Severe forest fires could add to global warming. Trees, like all plants, store atmospheric CO2 for use in photosynthesis. During a severe forest fire, this CO2 is released back into the air – adding to global warming as a greenhouse gas. A warmer planet means a longer, dryer fire season for forest areas like the west as well. So there’s sort of a vicious cycle there.
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