Europe sees three of its worst fire seasons in the last six years


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The European Commission has revealed the latest European Forest Fire report which found that three of the worst fire seasons on record in Europe took place in the last six years.

The Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) published the latest edition of its Annual Report on Forest Fires in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in 2021 and concludes that last year’s fire season was the second worst in the EU territory in terms of burnt area (since records began in 2006), after 2017 when over 10,000 km² had burnt.

More than 5,500 km² of land burnt in 2021 – more than twice the size of Luxembourg – with over 1,000 km² burnt within protected Natura 2000 areas, the EU’s reservoir of biodiversity.

The report does not yet cover this year’s fires, which have been even more destructive than the ones in 2021. 2022 is looking even worse, confirming the trend of recent years with an area covering 8,600 km² already burnt this year. 

Whilst the area burnt by wildfires has been remarkably extensive in 2022, the number of human casualties has been contained as a result of prevention measures implemented by EU Member States and the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM).

In 2021, the EU strengthened this mechanism’s capacity by increasing aerial firefighting means to assist countries during that fire season – support which was extensively used during the fires that hit the Mediterranean region in 2021 and in 2022.

The full report can be found here.

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