In Italy the fires are increasing visibly

In Italy the fires are increasing visibly

On Monday 4 July alone, 100 fires occurred in Lazio, with 300 civil protection teams engaged. The most serious was the one that hit the Balduina / Pineta Sacchetti area in Rome. As reported by Ansa, rest homes and homes have been evacuated and the firefighting operations have been hindered due to the wind. More generally, fires in Italy tripled in 2021 compared to the previous year. This is over 150 thousand hectares of land devastated by flames, compared to 54 thousand in 2020. An area even greater than that which burned down in 2017, the year in which there was the highest number of fires ever, equal to 781 compared to to 659 last year. This was announced by the latest monitoring of the Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (Ispra), based on data from the European Information System on Forest Fires (Effis).

“From the analysis of the latest twenty years, it appears that in Italy 40-50% of the territory affected by fire is made up of forests - reads the Ispra press release -. Considering that about a third of the national territory is covered by forests (about 8 and a half million hectares), from 1 January to 31 December 2021 a total area equal to 0.5% of the Italian territory (corresponding to Lake Garda) is burned. ".

Although behind many of these fires there are events of a malicious nature (on this track we are also investigating in the case of Rome, as the mayor Roberto Gualtieri said), the institute underlines how different factors depend on the global warming contributing to more fires. In addition to prolonged droughts and extreme heat waves, the effects of the climate on insects and plant diseases also contribute to making “tree coverings” more vulnerable and more susceptible to fire.

It is therefore a series of factors due to human actions, including poor prevention by the Italian authorities, as evidenced by a 2021 dossier of Green Europe. Among the problems highlighted are the privatization of the Canadair tanker fleet, the absence of a functional fire register, which could discourage the perpetrators of malicious attacks, and the unification of the forestry with the carabinieri.

In this situation, southern Italy lost the most last year. Sicily recorded the worst figures, with 3.5% of the territory set on fire in six out of ten municipalities and about 500 fires, 75% of the national total. If we consider only the wooded area, however, Calabria is in first place, with 37% of the forests burnt in the Sila and Aspromonte area, where 10% of the tree cover has disappeared.

However, the largest fire in the whole national territory occurred in Sardinia, in the Montiferru-Planargia forest complex, where "63% of the total area affected by fires in the Region was hit, resulting in the 'largest fire throughout Italy in terms of burnt area and involving 10 municipalities of Montiferru, causing considerable economic and social damage and damaging a cultural and environmental heritage of great landscape significance ".