Europe should focus more on preventing forest fires than reacting to them once they are out of control, it’s been claimed.
Wildfires in Europe have nearly trebled so far this year and experts have blamed climate change for the increase, saying it has extended the forest fire season and increased the frequency of blazes.
European countries spend billions of euros each year on putting the fires out, according to the European Forest Institute (EFI).
They claim it would be better to put long-term strategies in place to prevent fires, such as making forests more resilient to climate change, managing woodlands better and developing the rural economy.
EFI says climate change and factors such as ‘rural abandonment’ have created the perfect storm for forest fires.
Latest figures show there have been 944 fires in the European Union between January and August this year.
That is nearly treble the number of blazes there have been – on average – over the same period in the last eight years.
Interview with EFI’s senior expert Alexander Held
EFI’s campaign video