2 November 2022

The yearly report published by the JRC looks back at the previous fire season. Among its key findings the report presents that in 2021, 500,566 ha burnt in the EU. Out of this, forests accounted for 140,158 ha which is 28% of the total burnt area. The fires had severe impact on EU’s protected sites which a total of 98,170.40 ha burned – about 20% of the total area of all Natura 2000 sites and other protected area in the EU. The EU countries most affected in terms of burnt area in 2021 are Italy, Portugal and Greece.

Furthermore, the report reflects on known figures of the current fire season. In 2022, the drought is expected to be recorded as the most severe in Europe in 500 years. The area already burnt expands to over 860,000 ha in the EU which is 359,000 ha more than in 2021. This is one of the largest cumulative areas impacted by wildfires in Europe by the end of October. Currently, the EU countries most affected in terms of burnt area this year are Spain, Romania, Portugal, France, and Italy, show the figures from European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).

Enhancing prevention, preparedness and response capacities, and better information and stronger cooperation across the EU is needed to tackle the growing threat of wildfires, the report states. To better protect Europe from wildfires the report highlights the need for climate change adaptation, and points out the importance to manage vegetation to avoid the accumulation of fuels on the ground, which is one of the guidelines of the Commission booklet Land-based wildfire prevention published in 2021. As around 96% of wildfires in the EU are caused by human actions the report calls for stepping up prevention measures with a strong focus on raising the awareness of key stakeholders.



JRC Technical report - Forest Fires in Europe, Middle East and North Africa 2021

European Commission press release

EFFIS Statistical Portal

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