CÁCERES – The Fuelling a Mega Fire report is intended to help build a new understanding of mega fires and the structural causes accommodating them.
Fierce and wildly erratic mega fires have become a staple chapter in southern European summers. While they cause losses of life, raze thousands of hectares of land, force evacuations and the closures of businesses, the public discourse invariably turns to the point of ignition with arson, machinery accidents, and lightning being the usual culprits.
But what sparks a mega fire is not what determines its behaviour, size, or its speed. Nor is it what holds the solution to preventing future catastrophic wildfires.
Beyond its trigger, three critical variables fuel a mega fire: forest continuity, sewn together shrub density, and the convergence of unstable weather and climate conditions.
These catalysts mean the difference between a fire burning out, and one capable of generating enough momentum to surge across the line of control and into unknown territory. Because in order to make sense of current and future fire regimes we must first understand what is fanning the flames.
Photo credit: Mikel Konate. "The fire that ignited on May 17 in Las Hurdes (Cáceres, Spain) advancing two days later through the Árrago Valley towards the towns of Descargamaría and Cadalso. About 700 people had to be evacuated. It is estimated the fire affected an area close to 10,000 hectares."
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