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Wildfires Declining In Southern Europe

March 28, 2019

By Paul Homewood


This paper on wildfires for the EU Commission, published in 2010, sheds some light on European wildfire trends:




1. Introduction Fires are an integral component of ecosystem dynamics in European landscapes. However, uncontrolled fires cause large environmental and economic damages, especially in the Mediterranean region. On average, about 65000 fires occur in Europe every year, burning approximately half a million ha of wildland and forest areas; most of the burnt area, over 85%, is in the European Mediterranean region. Trends in number of fires and burnt areas in the Mediterranean region are presented in Fig. 1. Recent analyses of the available data in the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) show that over 95% of the fires in Europe are human-induced. The split of causes shows that most of them are due to misuse of traditional practices of straw burning of shrub-burning to recover areas for cattle feeding. Although European countries have collected information on forest fires since 1970s, the lack of harmonized information at the European level has prevented a holistic approach for forest fire prevention in the Region. The European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) has been developed jointly by the European Commission (EC) services (Directorate General Environment and the Joint Research Centre) and the relevant fires services in the countries (forest fires and civil protection services) in response to the needs of European bodies such as the Monitoring and Information Centre of Civil Protection, the European Commission Services and the European Parliament. EFFIS is a comprehensive system covering the full cycle of forest fire management, from forest fire prevention and preparedness to post-fire damage analysis (see Fig. 2). The system is providing information to over 30 countries in the European and Mediterranean regions, and receives detailed information of forest fire events from 22 European countries. It supports forest fire prevention and forest fire fighting in Europe through the provision of timely and reliable information on forest fires.


EU Fires


There does not appear to be any detailed data for the rest of Europe, but the trends for the Mediterranean region are clear.

There has been a marked reduction in burnt acreage since 1980. In terms of numbers of fires, they appear to have peaked in the 1990s.

Global warming alarmists regularly claim that wildfires have been made much worse by climate change, but the data in southern Europe says the opposite.

  1. MrGrimNasty permalink
    March 28, 2019 8:26 pm

    Similarly – S. Europe predicted to become a dust belt, opposite happening.

  2. Neil Hampshire permalink
    March 28, 2019 8:32 pm

    “Wildfire has been an important process affecting the Earth’s surface and atmosphere for over 350 million years and human societies have coexisted with fire since their emergence. Yet many consider wildfire as an accelerating problem, with widely held perceptions both in the media and scientific papers of increasing fire occurrence, severity and resulting losses. However, important exceptions aside, the quantitative evidence available does not support these perceived overall trends.”

  3. Mack permalink
    March 28, 2019 8:35 pm

    And, as the report makes clear, the causes of such fires are largely anthropogenic in origin. Not, however, from catastrophic man made Co2, fossil fuels and pesky SUVs, but humans losing control of ‘controlled’ scrub burning, not to mention the odd ignorant fag tosser, errant barbecuer and, of course, arsonist!

    • March 28, 2019 9:04 pm

      “the odd ignorant fag tosser,”

      I think I know what you mean (:-))

      • roger permalink
        March 28, 2019 10:19 pm

        But just for a non p c moment can we savour a delicious double entendre that a generation ago would have occasioned much mirth!

      • Mack permalink
        March 28, 2019 10:19 pm

        Em, could’ve phrased it better. But, in these enlightened times, fag tossing in the open air is to be positively encouraged, apparently. One wonders how Hampstead Heath has managed to escape being consumed by wildfires every 5 mins in the current climate?

  4. March 29, 2019 11:18 am

    Here, across the pond, we have long recognized wildfires as a natural part of the ecosystem, but I guess that has been forgotten in the need to blame humans for everything. In the West we have “dry” storms with lightening that starts fires. Lightening also causes fires in the Appalachians on ridges. The American Indians burned the heck out of the East and also the Plains Indians used fire to corral bison in their hunts.

    It has just been announced that there will be a number of “prescribed burns” in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest this spring. On the Coastal Plains of North and South Carolina, prescribed burns maintain the savannahs. They are burned on a schedule at the proper time of year if they have not burned naturally.

    Does the fewer burns mean that there has been more rain or that they have controlled the build-up of the litter layer? Fire suppression and “prevention” leads to a build-up of the litter layer and then when the fire does come…..Katy bar the door. California is a stunning example and President Trump took them to the woodshed over that recently.

  5. Peter Plail permalink
    March 29, 2019 11:56 am

    Where are the headlines proclaiming this good news?

  6. Shalewatcher permalink
    March 29, 2019 10:54 pm

    A knowing taxi driver in Portugal told me “putting out wild fires is good business” – I think he was implying that Climate change was less of a causal factor than human greed and criminality.

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