Wildfires have already caused greater damage this year than in the same period last year

by Lorraine Williamson

In the first two months of this year, 8,519.81 hectares burned in Spain. That is almost 10% less than the average of the last ten years – when 7,734 hectares burned per year. However, it is 35% more than in 2023. Then, in the same months, 5,540.37 hectares burned down due to wildfires.

This is according to data from the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO), collected by the Spanish newspaper Europa Press.

According to these figures, 2024 will be the sixth year with the most hectares burned in the last ten years. Although there has only been one major fire – compared to, say, 2021, when there were already four major fires in February – the fires have caused greater damage. A total of 759 fires have already been reported this year

Many wildfires quickly extinguished

Regarding the type of fire, the ministry reports that of the 759 fires recorded, 413 were “conatos”. That is, they were extinguished before they reached an area of one hectare of land. Of the remaining 346 fires, one covered an area of more than 500 hectares and is included in the list of major forest fires (GIF).

Cogesa Expats

This is where most of the fires took place

The figures show that 56.79% of forest edges occurred in northwestern Spain, 29.51% in the Mediterranean and 13.31% inland.

The vast majority of the affected area was in the northwest: 95.28% of the total forested area and 85.55% of the total forest area that went up in flames throughout Spain was burned there. In the Mediterranean region, 3.09% of the total tree-covered area and 10.22% of the total forest area burned.

Vegetation types

Finally, by vegetation type, 5,499.76 hectares of scrubland and open forest were burned in the first two months of 2024. In addition, 2,380.22 hectares of grassland and pasture; 639.23 hectares of forest and 0.031 hectares of woodland.

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