Massive Wild Fires in Spain and Germany

Germany, Spain, and Greece have been facing worst of Europe’s extraordinary heat wave. Apart from that, wildfires have also ravaged the three countries.

Key Points

  • Countries have witnessed temperatures rising to record highs even before the official start of summer that is before summer solstice on June 21.
  • The Sierra de la Culebra Mountain range in Spain is affected. Fires have destroyed almost 25,000 hectares. This had led to evacuation of residents of 18 municipalities.
  • Wildfires are also raging in Tarragona, Lleida, and Garraf in north-eastern region of Catalonia.
  • In Germany, wildfires have reached to 50 km southwest of Berlin.

Why forests catch fire?

Wildfire is a major fire which breaks out unpredictably in combustible environments like dry bush or forests. They often burn uncontrollably across a large area and length of time. Forest fires are triggered by natural factors like prolonged dry and hot weather, or lightning strikes, or human carelessness. They require fuel, oxygen and heat to grow and spread. They can be extinguished when at least one element is removed.

Why wildfires cause destruction?

Wildfires cause immense destruction, because of speed of their spread. Speed depends on the weather, fuel, winds, and topography. High temperatures and droughts led t devastating wildfires in California, Brazil, Australia, and southern Europe. Slopes are more prone to catch fire, as they face the sun and retain more heat.

Forest fires in Europe

As per European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), Europe witnessed the second worst fire in 2021, since EFFIS started keeping list of wildfires in 2000.

How does climate change affect fires?

Climate change have made heat waves 5 to 10 times worse as compared to heat waves about a century ago. Global warming is causing extreme weather events like hotter temperature, famines, droughts, rain, and floods. Earliest heatwave in 2022 in Europe sent the mercury past 40 degrees Celsius. These temperatures are expected only in July or August. May 2020 recorded the highest level of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere (420 ppm). Wildfires in Germany, Spain and Greece can also be linked to hotter temperatures and low humidity as a result of climate change.

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