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  12 Aug 2022, 16:57

2022 sets record fire activity in southwest Europe: EU

 PARIS, Aug 12, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Blazes that have torched tens of 
thousands of hectares of forest in France, Spain and Portugal have made 2022 a 
record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe, the EU's satellite 
monitoring service said Friday. 

Amid a prolonged heatwave that saw temperature records tumble, the 
Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) said that France had in the 
last three months reached the highest levels of carbon pollution from wildfires 
since records began in 2003.

It follows Spain registering its highest ever wildfire carbon emissions last month.
CAMS said the daily total fire radiative power -- a measure of the blazes' 
intensity -- in France, Spain and Portugal in July and August was "significantly 
higher" than average.

The service warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in 
"extreme fire danger" with some areas of "very extreme fire danger".

"We have been monitoring an increase in the number and resulting emissions of 
wildfires as heatwave conditions have exacerbated fires in southwestern France 
and the Iberian Peninsula," said Mark Parrington, CAMS senior scientist. 

"The very extreme fire danger ratings that have been forecasted for large areas of 
southern Europe mean that the scale and intensity of any fires can be greatly 
increased, and this is what we have been observing in our emissions estimates 
and the impacts it has on local air quality."

CAMS released satellite imagery showing a plume of smoke from the huge in 
southwestern France extending hundreds of kilometres over the Atlantic. 

France has received help battling the latest blaze -- which is 40-kilometres (25 
miles) wide and which forced some 10,000 people to evacuate the region -- in the 
form of 361 firefighters from European neighbours including Germany, Poland, 
Austria and Romania.

Globally, 2022 is currently the fourth highest year in terms of wildfire carbon, 
CAMS said.

Scientists say heatwaves such as the exceptional hot and dry spell over western 
Europe are made significantly more likely to occur due to manmade climate 
change. 

 

 
 


 

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