Mediterranean forest fires up by two-thirds

5th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Fires destroyed 80,000 hectares of land in Spain in 2009, said the European Forest Fire Information System on Friday.

Paris -- Fires destroyed more than 300,000 hectares (750,000 acres) of forests in Mediterranean countries so far in 2009, an increase of 66 percent compared to all of 2008, monitors said on Friday.

Most destruction occurred in Spain, with more than 80,000 hectares lost, followed by Italy (51,000 hectares) and Greece (42,000 hectares), the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) said.

"Though the total burned area is still... below the long-term average for Europe, a few major fires occurred near large cities (Marseille, Athens, Genoa), causing important damages and significant impact," it said in a newsletter.

It blamed the losses on "severe fire danger conditions," including long-lasting summer dryness and winds.

EFFIS, an EU agency, bases its reports on daily satellite imaging of European and North African countries on the Mediterranean rim.

AFP / Expatica

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