Adra Pallón Project II
FIRE AND ASH
Forest fires are a recurrent concern when the summer season begins, although they now occur even in the middle of winter. In fact, they have increased both in number and virulence and this fact is directly related to climate change and rural exodus. The researcher Serafín González Prieto, from the Spanish National Research Council, says that the social structure of the rural environment has been completely degraded and this causes the proliferation of forest fires both in extension and virulence. If the situation continues like this, he says that we are on the way to having only rocky areas without vegetation or fauna. Climate change, rural exodus, monoculture timber plantations of pyrophytic species in the hands of large companies, economic interests related to fire management are giving rise to a situation that shows its consequences in the degradation of ecosystems and indirectly in the expulsion of the few people who still resist in rural areas; those who helped to contain the fires by taking care of the land.
According to EFFIS (European Forest Fire Information System) data on fire seasons, 2022 has been the worst year of the century: in less than seven months the area burned already exceeded the total area burned by fire in 2012, which was so far the worst year on record. By the middle of the summer season, the area burned across the EU was three times the average of the last 15 years. As of August 6, 2022, Spain alone accounts for 40% (39.39%) of the total in the European Union in 2022, or 236,575 hectares out of a total of 600,731 hectares. The worst fire in the history of Galicia, one of the regions in Europe with the greatest forest fire problem, occurred this summer in Courel. Part of it had already burned last year. Courel is one of the most valuable natural areas in Europe.
The current situation of forest fires has reached such a point that we are facing the so-called sixth generation fires, which have the capacity to modify weather conditions and to affect and feed back to other fires that are even hundreds of kilometers away. This type of fire ravages many regions of Europe every year, one of the most affected being Galicia.
The depopulation of rural areas, the increase in monoculture of species such as eucalyptus and pine, which are highly pyrophilous, make fires increasingly dangerous and burn large areas of land.