Forest fires hit record low

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Areas affected by forest fires were at a historic low in 2022, the Forestry Department said in its annual assessment.

According to the data, the state forest area burned was the smallest since 1960, just 0.4 hectares, and the general forest area scorched was 30 hectares, the lowest in 20 years.

And the average area burned per forest fire was the smallest in 20 years, at just 0.5 hectares, the percentage of wildfires was the smallest in a decade at 31%, and the area of the largest fire in 2022 was the smallest since 2002 at 3.6 hectares.

In Forestry Department-controlled areas, 179 fires broke out, destroying 143 hectares.

Although the number of fires was 18% higher than the 2012-2021 average (152 fires), the destruction was 77% lower than the average (611 hectares).

The average burned area per fire in 2022 was 0.8 hectares, while for the decade, it was 4 hectares, a reduction of 80%.

Of the 179 fires, only 57 were forest fires which burned 30 hectares; the average area burned per forest fire was 0.5 hectares, the lowest in twenty years.

Most fires were deliberate (50%) of all human-caused forest fires.

The Forestry Department installed technology systems for early detection and better management of fire incidents and for identifying the perpetrators of intentional fires.

Some 12% of all forest fires are due to natural causes (lightning), while the remaining 44% are due to human negligence.

“The results of this year’s fire season, in the area of ​​responsibility of the Forestry Department, are considered exceptional.

“It is noteworthy that in 2022, in the Forest Department’s area of ​​responsibility, the largest forest fire had an area of ​​only 3.6 hectares,” the department said.

Contributing factors are improved planning and organisation as well as strengthening the forest fire response system.