Understanding climate data, including rainfall, wind speed, and average temperature, is crucial for devising effective fire mitigation strategies on the slopes of Mount Mulanje in Malawi. Raheela Ahmed from the Mount Mulanje Conservation Trust has a fire management team who assist her in overseeing the fire risk on Mulanje. Now she has access to climatic data she has new insights into the region’s environmental conditions, influencing the vegetation’s moisture content and susceptibility to ignite. Low rainfall may result in dry vegetation, elevating fire risk, while wind speed can influence the rate of fire spread. Understanding rainfall data enables her to address downstream flash flood issues too by gauging the amount of rain that has fallen.

Average temperature impacts the overall combustibility of the ecosystem. Analysing this data helps her to anticipate fire behaviour, and ensures the forward planning of preventive measures, early detection, and swift response, safeguards Mount Mulanje’s unique biodiversity and local communities from the threat of wildfires.

Wildfires have a devastating effect on biodiversity and habitat. Fires can lead to the destruction of diverse ecosystems, causing the loss of plant and animal species. Mount Mulanje’s unique biodiversity is particularly vulnerable, as these fires alter habitats, disrupt ecological balances, and threaten the survival of endemic species. Effective fire mitigation, guided by comprehensive climate data, is essential not only for preventing the immediate threat of fires but also for preserving the rich tapestry of life on the mountain and ensuring the sustained well-being of local communities who depend on these ecosystems.