Wildfires have burned 100,000ha so far this year – forestry institute

More than 500 fires were reported in the last week

The area burnt in Portugal due to fires this year has already exceeded 100,000 hectares, according to the latest data from the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forestry (ICNF).

The provisional data to Tuesday, obtained from the Information Management System of Forest Fires (SGIF) and just released, show that 103,332 hectares had burnt, 51% of it forest, 39% brush and 10% agricultural area.

So far this year, 9,100 fires have been registered, according to the figures, which were published on the ICNF website on Tuesday.

Data also published by ICNF, in the fourth provisional report of rural fires in 2022, covering the period from 1 January to 15 August, show 80,760 hectares burnt in the period, which means that just in the last week more than 22,000 hectares has burnt. Up to 15 August, the number of incidents so far this year totalled 8,517, meaning more than 500 fires were reported in the last week.

The report indicates that compared to the average of the previous 10 years, there were 12% fewer rural fires but 30% more area burnt.

In the period in question, there were 16 fires with a burned area equal to or greater than 1,000 hectares (in 82% of cases, the fire does not burn even one hectare) and 66 with a burned area equal to or greater than 100 hectares, which are considered to be large fires. Castelo Branco was the district with the biggest area burned.

For the figures to 15 August, of the causes of fires verified, 22% were deemed to have been due to bonfires or the burning of agricultural waste and 22% to arsonists.

Source: Lusa