By Chris King • 26 May 2023 • 0:22
Image of forest fire in Spain's Asturias region.
Credit: Antonio Galvez Lopez/Shutterstock.com
According to data from Spain’s Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, fires have caused more devastation in the first four months of 2022 than in all of last year.
Specifically, a total of 39,381.42 hectares have been destroyed so far, which is almost double the average of the last 10 years. With a similar number of incidents, a larger area has been burned by each blaze.
EFFIS, the European Information System on Forest Fires however raised this figure to 66,573 hectares burned and included until May 21 in that total, as reported by 20minutos.es.
Incredibly, that volume represents more than half of everything burned in the European Union. In the same period of time, 118,451 hectares have been destroyed across the bloc. As a result of these conflagrations, an estimated 4.35 metric tons of CO2 were emitted into the atmosphere.
Data from the Ministry for Ecological Transition show that 3,530 fire-related incidents were recorded in this period. Of this total, 2,089 were attempts that were extinguished before reaching one hectare of affected area.
The remaining 1,441 were fires of more than one hectare and of which six exceeded 500, which places them in the category of large forest fires (GIF). Those are one of the main problems so far in 2023 since it is triple the number of large fires on average for the decade.
In these ten years, only 2017 had a greater number of large fires in the first four months. In that year, seven incidents of this type occurred. 2021 came close, with five recorded. In the rest of the years since 2013, there have been between two and three large forest fires.
The area most affected by these disasters was the northwest of the country which registered more than half of them. They accounted for 51 per cent of the burnt wooded area and 79.51 per cent of the total destroyed forest space. It was followed by the inland communities, the Mediterranean areas, and lastly, the Canary Islands.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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