Europe is Experiencing a Record Wildfire Year as Climate Conditions Continue to Change

Wildfire conditions in Europe are intensifying, just as Europe experiences an unprecedented heatwave. Fires in parts of France, Spain, and Portugal have already destroyed more land in 2022 than in all of 2021. To date, 517,881 hectares—or the equivalent areas of Trinidad and Tobago—have been destroyed.

Jesus San Miguel, the coordinator of the European Union’s EFFIS satellite monitoring service, told AFP in an interview that “The situation is much worse than expected, even if we were expecting temperature anomalies with our long-term forecasts. The fire season used to be concentrated from July to September. Now we are getting longer seasons and very intense fire. We expect climate change to create higher fire conditions in Europe.”

San Miguel said there could be worse to come, adding that the hallmarks of global heating were all over this year’s fire season. “Ignition is caused by people (but) the heatwave is critical, and clearly linked to climate change,” he said.

EFFIS said that Europe could end 2022 with more land burned by area than 2017, currently the worst recorded year for wildfires with nearly 1,000,000 hectares lost.

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