2023 Europe Wildfires Among Worst This Century, Report Finds; Greece Suffering the Most

wildfires feature

Greece faced the brunt of the 2023 wildfire season in Europe, marking one of the most severe fire seasons this century, as outlined in a report released by the European Commission on Wednesday.

The report, "Forest Fires in Europe, Middle East and North Africa 2023," compiled by the Commission's Joint Research Centre, revealed that over half a million hectares, an area twice the size of Luxembourg, were engulfed by wildfires last year.

The Mediterranean region, particularly Greece near Alexandroupoli, bore the heaviest impact, with Greece experiencing the largest single fire recorded in Europe since the 1980s.

The severity of the wildfires underscores the escalating impact of climate change, with the report emphasising a trend towards increased fire frequency, even in areas not historically prone to such disasters.

The European Climate Risk assessment report, published in March, warned of worsening conditions, projecting a grim outlook for the future.

While preliminary data for the first quarter of 2024 indicated a nearly doubled average of fires, thankfully, these did not result in significant increases in burnt areas.

Despite the devastating environmental toll, the wildfires also had significant ramifications for carbon emissions, with an estimated 20 megatonnes of CO2 released, equivalent to nearly a third of all emissions from international aviation in the EU for one year.

As nations grapple with the aftermath, the final 2023 report, incorporating national contributions, is slated for release in the autumn, shedding further light on the extent of the damage and the urgent need for mitigation strategies.

(Source: Reuters)

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