Spain: Land Area Burned by Forest Fires, by year
YearArea burned by fires,
in ha
202391,220
2022306,555
202184,827
202061,099
201963,853
201812,433
2017130,925
201652,644
201563,560
201422,001
201337,069
2012189,376
201160,060
201019,770
200988,845
  • Region: Spain
  • Time period: 2009 to 2023
  • Published: Jan 2024

Data Analysis and Insights

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

Record-Breaking Area Burned in 2022

The year 2022 witnessed an unprecedented scale of forest fires in Spain, with 306,555 hectares of land affected. This figure stands out as the highest recorded over the provided 15-year period, marking a significant spike in the area burned by fires. The magnitude of this destruction underscores a critical need for enhanced forest management and fire prevention strategies.

Comparative Analysis of Burned Areas

In a stark contrast, the year 2018 saw the least amount of land affected by forest fires, with only 12,433 hectares burned. When compared to 2022's record-breaking devastation, it illustrates a dramatic fluctuation in the annual burned area, reflecting the varying intensity and impact of forest fires over the years.

Decadal Shift in Fire Impact

Analyzing the data from the last decade reveals a concerning trend: the average area burned by fires each year has increased. Specifically, the average from 2010 to 2019 was approximately 73,386 hectares, while the period from 2020 to 2023 saw an average increase to about 82,175 hectares. This upward trend signals a growing threat from forest fires, possibly exacerbated by factors such as climate change.

High Variability in Yearly Data

The data exhibits significant yearly variability in the extent of forest fires, with areas burned ranging from as low as 12,433 hectares in 2018 to as high as 306,555 hectares in 2022. Such fluctuation underscores the unpredictable nature of forest fires and the challenges involved in preparing and mitigating their impacts effectively.

Notable Years of Extensive Damage

Years 2017 and 2012 are notable for extensive fire damage, with 130,925 and 189,376 hectares of land burned, respectively. These years, alongside 2022, represent the peaks of forest fire destruction within the dataset, highlighting periods of significant environmental and ecological loss.

Analysis of Recent Trends

The last five years have seen a marked variability in the area affected by forest fires, from a low of 61,099 hectares in 2020 to the peak in 2022. However, the 91,220 hectares burned in 2023 suggest a possible decrease from the previous year's record high, indicating fluctuating patterns that may continue in the future.

Long-term Impact on Spanish Forests

Over the span of the 15 years covered, a cumulative total of more than 1.2 million hectares of land has been burned by forest fires in Spain. This considerable area reflects the long-term impact of forest fires on the country’s natural landscapes, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration capabilities, emphasizing the importance of sustainable land management and fire prevention practices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which year had the least area burned by forest fires?

The year 2018 had the least area burned by forest fires, with just 12,433 hectares affected.

How has the average area burned by fires each year changed over time?

The average area burned each year increased from 73,386 hectares in the period 2010 to 2019 to about 82,175 hectares from 2020 to 2023.

What is the cumulative total of land burned by forest fires in Spain over the past 15 years?

Over the past 15 years, more than 1.2 million hectares of land in Spain have been burned by forest fires.

Terms and Definitions

Land area refers to the total surface of the Earth that is categorized as dry land, excluding bodies of water like rivers, lakes or seas. In the context of this article, land area specifically refers to the land surface in Spain.

Burned area refers to the extent of land that has been affected by a fire. It involves the total land surface where a fire has occurred. Both lightly charred and completely incinerated areas are included in this category.

Forest fires, also known as wildfires, are uncontrolled fires that rapidly spread across vegetation and forested areas fueled by weather conditions, dry underbrush, and strong winds among other factors.

Fire season refers to a period or periods within a year during which wildfires are more likely to occur due to various factors like high temperatures, low humidity, dry vegetation, and wind patterns.

Fire severity signifies the heat energy released during a fire and its ecological impacts. It helps in understanding the degree of damage caused by a forest fire.

Fire frequency refers to how often fires occur in a particular area over a designated period of time. High fire frequency may indicate areas more prone to fires due to environmental or man-made factors.
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