The share of Europe’s territory at high risk of fire has doubled in the last 50 years

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A new article about wildfires by María Álvarez Del Vayo, Adrian Maqueda, and Carmen Torrecillas has just been published on the European Data Journalism platform and on Civio.

The share of Europe’s territory at high risk of fire has reportedly doubled since 1971. This makes a larger portion of Europe now susceptible to wildfires compared to the past, forcing areas unfamiliar with this problem to face new challenges.

Among those, Bulgaria, Belgium, France, Germany, Albania and Luxemburg seem to have become gradually more vulnerable. At the same time, Mediterranean countries, where the wildfire risk is already high, saw the indicators further increasing in the last years and need to be prepared for emergencies expected by the latest scenario predictions.

THE Fire risk index and other variables

The FWI calculates the risk of fire occurrence according to different weather values including humidity, wind, temperature and precipitation. High FWI values indicate harsher weather conditions favouring a wildfire outburst. More variables such as fuel availability and its inflammability should be included for a more comprehensive risk evaluation. However, the increase of this index alone suggests that European countries will face future challenges in wildfire prevention.

Circumstances are expected to be exacerbated by climate change as well as prolonged duration of the fire weather season, traditionally relegated to the summer months.

The material was published in the context of the “FIRE-RES” project co-funded by the European Union (EU). The EU is in no way responsible for the information or views expressed within the framework of the project. Responsibility for the content lies solely with EDJNet.

The article is part of the Wildfires in Europe investigation. You can discover more here.

Author: Beatrice Bellavia (Euromontana).