Europe: Land Area Burned by Forest Fires, by country
in ha
2006-2022 average,
in ha
North MacedoniaNorth Macedonia12,894.0011,764.24
U.K.United Kingdom8,697.006,936.53
Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina3,211.0034,332.59
  • Region: Europe
  • Time period: 2023
  • Published: Jan 2024

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Apr 14, 2024 | Published by: Statistico | About Us / Data / Analysis

Unprecedented Increase in Land Burned in Ukraine and Greece in 2023

Ukraine experienced a dramatic surge in land affected by forest fires in 2023, with 214,065 hectares burned, which is nearly 670% higher than its 2006-2022 average of 31,963.59 hectares. Similarly, Greece saw 174,773 hectares of land burned in 2023, marking a 302% increase from its average of 43,489.76 hectares in previous years. These figures indicate a significant escalation in forest fire incidents or severity within these countries, highlighting an urgent need for enhanced fire management and prevention strategies.

Portugal and Bosnia and Herzegovina Witness Major Reductions in Forest Fires

Contrastingly, Portugal and Bosnia and Herzegovina showed notable decreases in the area affected by forest fires in 2023. Portugal's land burned was 36,640 hectares, a substantial decrease from its 2006-2022 average of 97,081.53 hectares. Bosnia and Herzegovina reported 3,211 hectares affected, significantly lower than its 17-year average of 34,332.59 hectares. These decreases suggest effective measures may have been implemented in these countries to mitigate the impact of forest fires.

Spain's Consistent Struggle with Forest Fires

Spain's forest fires in 2023 burned 91,220 hectares of land, aligning closely with its historical average of 81,058.65 hectares. This consistency suggests a persistent challenge in reducing the frequency or intensity of forest fires, underscoring the need for ongoing efforts in fire prevention and land management in Spain.

Significant Increases in Land Burned in Smaller European Countries

Countries with typically lower averages of land burned saw significant increases in 2023. For instance, Austria's land affected by forest fires rose to 398 hectares, from an average of 76.12 hectares, and Lithuania saw a rise to 305 hectares, up from just 16.41 hectares. These increases might reflect changing climatic conditions or challenges in managing fire outbreaks, emphasizing the importance of preparedness across Europe, regardless of historical fire activity levels.

Remarkable Stability in Fire Affected Areas in Countries with Low Averages

Switzerland and Estonia exhibited remarkable stability in their fire-affected areas, with Switzerland reporting 68 hectares burned in 2023, closely matching its average of 18.18 hectares, and Estonia 173 hectares, only slightly higher than its average of 22.65 hectares. These figures suggest consistent and effective fire management strategies in these countries, maintaining low levels of forest fire impact over time.

Discrepancies in Fire Impact Between Northern and Southern Europe

A noticeable trend is the higher impact of forest fires in Southern European countries compared to their Northern counterparts. For example, Italy and Greece, with 97,595 hectares and 174,773 hectares burned in 2023 respectively, contrast sharply with countries like Finland and Sweden, where the numbers were significantly lower, at 205 hectares and 188 hectares respectively. These discrepancies could be attributed to the climatic and vegetational differences between the regions, highlighting the need for region-specific fire management strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which countries showed notable decreases in the area affected by forest fires?

Portugal and Bosnia and Herzegovina showed significant decreases with 36,640 hectares and 3,211 hectares burned respectively.

Terms and Definitions

Forest fires, also known as wildfires, refer to uncontrolled fires spread across vegetation or forest areas. These fires can cause extensive damage, devouring large swaths of land, forests, vegetation, and even settlements.

Land area refers to the total surface area of a specific geographical region, including forests, mountains, plains, and water bodies. In the context of an article on forest fires, it particularly refers to the area of land affected or consumed by the fires.

Fire severity refers to the degree of damage caused by a forest fire in a particular area. It typically takes into account factors like the intensity of the fire, the volume and type of vegetation consumed, and the extent of soil damage.

Fire frequency indicates the number of times a specific area experiences fires over a certain period. It is a significant factor in understanding fire patterns and the vulnerability of a region to forest fires.

Wildfire management involves strategies and practices to prevent, control, or suppress wildfires. These may include early detection systems, fire breaks, containment efforts, prescribed burns, and post-fire rehabilitation.
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