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Forest fires in Germany and Europe at a record level - expert sees "consequence of climate change"

2022-08-13T15:27:36.059Z

The wave of forest fires in Europe is not leveling off. Experts expect a record-breaking wildfire season. There is hardly any improvement in sight.



The wave of forest fires in Europe is not leveling off.

Experts expect a record-breaking wildfire season.

There is hardly any improvement in sight.

Munich - "Bundeswehr helps with forest fires in the Harz", "Huge forest fire near Bordeux", "The forest fire wave": Headlines about forest fires are piling up more and more.

All of Europe is ravaged by fires.

Southwest Europe is experiencing a record-breaking wildfire season this year.

But with fire season not yet over, 2022 could turn out to be the worst since records began in 2003.

Germany is also affected by the numerous fires.

Forest fires in Europe: "Extreme fire danger" in France, Italy and Spain

NASA satellite data shows where the risk of forest fires in Europe is worst: Southern and northern Italy in particular, as well as numerous regions in Spain and France, are marked in red.

In France alone, more than a million tons of carbon dioxide have been released by the fires since the beginning of the year.

The European earth observation program Copernicus announced on Friday (August 12) that this is significantly more than the average of around 0.5 million tons.

According to Copernicus, 2003 was the year with the highest carbon dioxide emissions from forest fires in France to date, at almost 1.3 million tons.

Copernicus also announced that the daily fire radiation output, which is used to indicate the intensity of fires, was "significantly" above average in France, Spain and Portugal in July and August.

Copernicus warned that large parts of Western Europe are currently at “extreme risk of fire”.

This means "fires could increase in scale and intensity," said Mark Parrington, chief scientist for the Earth Observation program.

"This is exactly what we observed in our emissions estimates and local air quality impacts."

Fire hazard also in Germany: Highest warning level in the east

Tens of thousands of hectares of forest have already been destroyed.

A 40-kilometer fire front is currently raging near Bordeaux in France.

Several fires had also broken out in Germany in the past few weeks, including in Berlin's Grunewald and in the Harz Mountains.

In Brandenburg, there was a fire in July on a total area of ​​400 hectares - the equivalent of about 600 soccer fields.

For Germany, the Nasa map shows numerous red regions across the country.

The forest fire risk index of the German Weather Service (DWD) measures the meteorological risk of a forest fire.

The index shows that throughout Germany the index is at warning level 3 out of 5, with warning level 5 indicating a very high level of danger.

In the west of Germany, the DWD expects warning level 4 in the coming days, and even the highest level in the east.

Consequences of climate change: "Germany is a forest fire country"

"Germany is now a forest fire country," Somidh Saha from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) recently told the German Press Agency.

The expert identified climate change as the cause of the increased risk of forest fires: "As a result of climate change, we are now experiencing extreme heat waves and droughts, and this of course also increases the risk of fire."

Calculations by the German Weather Service showed that in Germany it should be up to one degree warmer on average in the coming years than in the past three decades.

This could also affect the risk of forest fires.

It is clear that heat itself does not ignite a fire.

But it can favor the outbreak of fires: the hotter it gets, the more water evaporates.

France is already experiencing a historic drought this year.

The risk of forest fires increases, especially when heat waves are accompanied by extended periods of drought.

There are also other factors such as lightning or human risks - such as cigarettes or sparks that can occur during combine harvesting.

(sf/dpa/AFP)

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2022-08-13

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