Aircraft were used to tackle the blaze in Alhaurín el Grande in July. / Ñito salas

Fewer wildfires in Andalucía this year, but their effects have been more devastating

The 115 fires in the region since the beginning of the year have affected 10,842 hectares, compared with the average of 4,734 over the past ten years

JOSÉ LUIS PIEDRA Seville

So far this year, 10,842.17 hectares of land in Andalucía have been devastated by wildfires and this is more than double the average for the past decade, which stands at 4,734,86 hectares.

However, figures from the Junta de Andalucía’s Plan Infoca show that there have been slightly fewer fires this year, 115 compared with an average of 117.80 over the past ten years, and 370 small outbreaks compared with 402. The number of fire-fighting operations is also lower, at 485 so far this year whereas the average for the decade has been 519. The figures show that although there have been fewer wildfires, their effects have been more devastating.

Sources at Plan Infoca also say that Andalucía is in a situation of extreme risk, which means that if there is an incident the chances of it becoming a major fire are very high.

Impact on the environment

The fires in Andalucía this year have had a major impact on woodland, as trees were growing in more than half the areas affected (55.39%). Over 6,000 hectares of woodland have been burned since the beginning of the year, while the remaining 4,836.39 hectares were shrubland.

By province, Malaga has lost the most woodland as 6,435.75 hectares have been burned. The biggest wildfire in the province so far has been the one in Pujerra in June, which devastated 4,860 hectares and affected land in Benahavís, Estepona, Faraján, Igualeja, Jubrique, Júzcar and Pujerra. There was also another major fire in El Higuerón area of Mijas recently, which burned 1,875 hectares.