Europe’s wildfires in 2023 were among the worst this century, report says

Flames and smoke rise from a line of trees as a wildfire burns at the Dadia National Park in the region of Evros, Greece, September 1, 2023. [Reuters/Alexandros Avramidis]

The 2023 wildfire season in Europe was among the worst this century, according to a European Commission report published on Wednesday.

Last year, more than half a million (504,002) hectares, an area twice the size of Luxembourg, was scorched by wildfires, according to a report on Forest Fires in Europe, Middle East and North Africa 2023 by the Commission's Joint Research Centre.

The three worst years this century by the extent of the burnt area mapped by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) were 2017 (988,427 ha), 2022 (837,212 ha) and 2007 (588,388 ha).

The report shows that fires intensified during the summer of 2023, affecting mostly the Mediterranean region, with Greece (near Alexandroupoli) suffering the largest single fire to occur in Europe since the 1980s.

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