660,000 hectares: record burned area on land in Europe

660,000 hectares: record burned area on land in Europe

08/15/2022 10:07 (act 08/15/2022 10:07)

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©via Portal

The several major fires in Europe have already burned around 660,000 hectares of land this year – a record since records began in 2006.

This comes from data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS). According to them, not only the Mediterranean countries were affected this year, as is often the case; other regions also suffered enormously. Slovenia has experienced its worst wildfire in generations.

“2022 is a record year so far,” said EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel. “Drought and extremely high temperatures hit all of Europe.” This greatly increases the risk of wildfires. “The situation is worrying – and we are just entering the middle of the fire season.” Spain was hit hardest this year, with 249,000 hectares burned. Romania follows with 151,000 and Portugal with more than 75,000 hectares.

Forest fires in Spain

About 1,500 residents of several cities in northeastern Spain had to flee their homes on Sunday because of a wildfire that spiraled out of control. Flames in the region around the town of Añón de Moncayo, about 70 kilometers west of the city of Zaragoza, are being fueled by strong gusts of wind, a firefighter told Spanish state television station RTVE on Sunday. Also, the wind direction is constantly changing. The situation is critical.

TV showed how residents of the region, already enveloped in acrid smoke, tried to contain the flames on the outskirts of villages with garden hoses and buckets of water. They were assisted by 300 professional firefighters. Also further south, in Jumilla, near Murcia, the fire brigade battled a forest fire with high winds, which would have been triggered by lightning.

Fire in the south of France

Meanwhile, after a forest fire broke out again in the south of France, 1,000 people had to leave their homes again. According to local authorities in the department of Aveyron on Sunday, the fire near the village of Mostuéjouls appeared to be extinguishing before intensifying “violently” again on Saturday afternoon. Accordingly, another 500 hectares of land have been burned since then. In total, more than 1,200 hectares fell victim to the flames on Sunday morning.

The fire started last Monday and 3,000 people were evacuated as a precaution. They returned to their homes after the fire appeared to be under control. In eastern France, police announced over the weekend that they would block access to most forests in the Bas-Rhin department, on the German border. This should reduce the risk of new fires.

rain as savior

In southwestern France, rain late on Sunday caused a brief respite in a fire that has ravaged 7,400 hectares since Tuesday. The situation with the fire in the department of Gironde “improved significantly overnight” due to precipitation, said Arnaud Mendousse of the local fire department. At the same time, he restrained: “Gives a breath, but it doesn’t mean the end of the fight”.

Dozens of firefighters from Lower Austria have been helping with forest fires in the Bordeaux region since Saturday. You now have the fire on the Atlantic coast under control. As a spokesperson for the local town hall announced Sunday afternoon, the rainy, windless night helped. The 8,000 residents who had to temporarily leave their homes were able to return. The fire may have been caused by arson.