The 2020 forest fire report, which is based on national reports, shows that Romania was the most affected country, followed by Portugal, Spain and Italy, with around 340,000 hectares burnt in the EU as a whole, which is 30 percent more than Luxembourg.
The 21st annual report on forest fires in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, presented by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), also estimates that the fire season in 2021 will be worse, given that, at the time of the report's publication, "almost 500,000 hectares, 61 percent of which are forests that will take years to recover, have been destroyed by flames".
This year, "around 25 percent of burnt areas in Europe were in Natura 2000 sites, the reservoirs of biodiversity in the EU", and by the end of June, which is usually the start of the fire season, around 130,000 hectares had already burnt.
Moreover, fires no longer affect only the southern states, but are now a growing threat to central and northern Europe as well.
A further note is that the effects of climate change are increasingly evident, with, according to the document, a clearly observable growing trend towards increased fire risks, longer fire seasons and intense "mega fires" which spread rapidly and for which traditional fire-fighting methods can do little.