The total area burned in this year’s wildfire season has reached new records in nine European Union member states, new data show.
By October 1, forest fires had burned more than 771,000 hectares in the 27-nation bloc. the biggest achievement since records began in 2006according to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).
Nine countries set new records. These were Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
For six of them, records were broken by wide margins, as the annual averages recorded between 2006 and 2021 were extremely low.
This is the case of the Czech Republic, where 1,436 hectares burned this year compared to an average of only 9.06 during the period 2006-2021, which is about 160 times more.
The new Austrian record of 1,016 hectares of burned areas is 58 times higher than the average for the years 2006-2021, and the Slovenian record of 388 hectares is 42 times higher.
Spain’s new record is by far the biggest with 299,635 hectares burned this year compared to an average of 66,965. The country was the most affected country in the EU.
The bloc’s emergency response coordination center was activated 11 times during the last wildfire season to provide air and/or ground support to countries including Albania, the Czech Republic, France, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.
More than 200 European firefighters have meanwhile been stationed in Greece, which has traditionally been a hard-hit country.
In response to record wildfires fueled by a series of heatwaves that began as early as May, the European Commission announced this week that it will invest an additional €170 million from the EU budget to strengthen rescEU capacity.
The programme, which is part of the Civil Protection Mechanism, aims to have a total of 22 aircraft and four helicopters deployed across the Union before the summer of 2023, up from the 12 firefighting aircraft and one helicopter currently available to Member States in difficulty. year.