An extreme heatwave warning has been issued across Europe, with parts of Germany and France expected to see highs of over 40°C this week. The wildfire season has started earlier than usual this year, with around 250,000 hectares having burned in the EU between January 1 and July 9, according to the latest figures from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS). This is around three times the size of the average measured in the same period between 2008 and 2020.
France and Spain currently represent around 40 percent of the land destroyed in the EU in the first six months of the year. At the start of July, the cumulative area of forests burned down in these two countries was already four times higher than the average for the same period between 2008 - 2020. If past trends are anything to go by, we can expect to see more fires in the coming weeks, as hot weather and droughts usually lead to wildfire peaks in late July/early August.