Faced with one of the worst anti-fire seasons in its recent history is the European Union.

According to the aggregated satellite records of the Copernicus service, the areas burned in the EU from the beginning of the year to August 26 are 44.2% higher compared to the average of the previous fifteen years.

In particular, the areas affected by fires this year reach 4 million hectares, while in 13 of the 27 member states, i.e. in half, this year is worse than the average performance of the period 2006-2022.

Greece is the hardest-hit European country this year, with the major fire in Alexandroupoli and Dadia now the biggest on record since EU data-keeping began.

However, the Copernicus figures suggest that the problem is wider, as in almost all the major Mediterranean countries, France, Spain and Italy, this year’s cumulative disasters are more extensive than the average of the previous 15 years.

This is essentially a continuation of a trend recorded in the European south in previous years, as almost every southern European country has experienced a “black” year in the last six years. In Portugal in 2017 the burned areas surpassed all previous ones, exceeding 5.4 million hectares.

In Spain, a record 3 million hectares were burned in 2022, while in Italy in 2021, burned areas were estimated at 1.5 million hectares.