Italy: Fires in Summer 2000 (IFFN No. 23 – December 2000)

Fires in Summer 2000

(IFFN No. 23 – December 2000, p. 84-87)


According to the Statistic Bureau of Corpo Forestale dello Stato, over 10 000 wildland fires have burned more than 95 000 hectares across Italy (45 000 of which forested) as of 3 September 2000. Officials are calling it the worst wildfire season in recent history, probably much worse than 1993.

A long, severe drought, with below normal rainfall and air temperature increased in the upper 40’s °C in many parts of Southern Italy for days in July and August, with records of 48°C in July, together with winds that made fighting very difficult, have been the biggest influencing factor of this disastrous phenomenon, whose increasing trend is evidenced by Tables 1 and 3. In many days, fire departments were called on more than 170 fires a day.

The problem as been common for other people living in South Europe, suffering under an extreme heat wave. The southernmost Regions (Puglia, Calabria, Campania) together with the islands of Sardinia and Sicily keep the negative record of fires also this year, confirming that fires are usually more numerous in Regions with low forestry ratio, such as Puglia (7.7) and Sicily (10.1) (Tab.2). Most of the fires are believed to be intentionally caused.

In many cases, heavy fires have threatened houses, residential areas and small towns, where residents have been cautioned to leave their homes or evacuated. In addition, wildfires have severely swept many protected areas (namely nature reserves and national parks such as Pollino, Gargano, Abruzzi) and areas of celebrated beauty, such as island of Capri, the pine stand of Ostia, near Rome, the coast near Amalfi.

 

Tab.1. Number of fires, surfaces (total and decade averages) in Italy, 1970-2000.
Source: Corpo Forestale dello Stato.

Year

Number of

fires

Surfaces affected

Forested

Non-forested

Total

ha ha ha Total 1970-1979

64 259

503 409

366 681

870 090

Average 1970-1979

6 426

50 341

36 668

87 009

Total 1980-1989

115 752

534 397

937 101

1 471 498

Average 1980-1989

11 575

53 440

93 710

147 150

Total 1990-1999

111 638

553 059

632 667

1 185 726

Average 1990-1999

11 163

55 305

63 266

118 576

1999

6 932

39 362

31 755

71 117

2000

10 038

44 808

50 768

95 576

 

Tab.2. Forest fires in Italy in 2000 (1 January – 3 September 2000).
Source: Corpo Forestale dello Stato.

Region

Number of fires

Surfaces affected by fire

Forested

Non-forested

Total

Forestry
Ratio

ha

ha ha VALLE D’AOSTA

92

9

16

25

29.3

PIEMONTE

366

1 442

3 098

4 540

25.9

LOMBARDIA

317

1 237

1 623

2 860

25.1

TRENTINO A.A.

74

63

46

109

49.6

VENETO

72

125

63

188

19.1

FRIULI V.G.

27

28

19

47

36.9

LIGURIA

363

1 850

888

2 738

69.1

EMILIA. ROMAGNA

138

120

152

272

20.5

TOSCANA

427

1 375

467

1 842

42.7

UMBRIA

117

354

134

488

39.8

MARCHE

61

465

117

582

23.1

LAZIO

615

5 043

2 391

7 434

27.1

ABRUZZO

125

1 599

3 018

4 617

29.8

MOLISE

263

193

1 354

1 547

29.2

CAMPANIA

1 590

5 145

5 195

10 340

27.9

PUGLIA

639

4 615

10 880

15 495

7.7

BASILICATA

342

2 528

2 969

5 517

29.5

CALABRIA

2 091

11 716

5 963

17 679

38.3

SICILIA

844

2 284

3 592

5 876

10.4

SARDEGNA

1 475

4 617

8 763

13 380

40.5

Total

10 038

44 808

50 768

95 576

9.5

 

Tab.3. Forest fires in Italy from 1970 to 1999: Number, surfaces per year and decades.
Source: Corpo Forestale dello Stato.

Year

Number of
fires

Surfaces affected Forested
(ha)
Non forested
(ha)
Total
(ha)

1970

6 579

68 170

23 006

91 176

1971

5 617

82 339

18 463

100 802

1972

2 358

19 314

7 989

27 303

1973

5 681

84 438

24 400

108 838

1974

5 055

66 035

36 909

102 944

1975

4 257

31 551

23 135

54 686

1976

4 457

30 735

20 056

50 791

1977

8 878

37 708

55 031

92 739

1978

11 052

43 331

84 246

127 577

1979

10 325

39 788

73 446

113 234

Total

64 259

503 409

366 681

870 090

Average 1970-1979

6 426

50 341

36 668

87 009

1980

11 963

45 838

98 081

143 919

1981

14 503

74 287

155 563

229 850

1982

9 557

48 832

81 624

130 456

1983

7 956

78 938

133 740

212 678

1984

8 482

31 077

44 195

75 272

1985

18 664

76 548

114 092

190 640

1986

9 398

26 795

59 625

86 420

1987

11 972

46 040

74 657

120 697

1988

13 588

60 109

126 296

186 405

1989

9 669

45 933

49 228

95 161

Total

115 752

534 397

937 101

1 471 498

Average 1980-1989

11 575

53 440

93 710

147 150

1990

14 477

98 410

96 909

195 319

1991

11 965

30 172

69 688

99 860

1992

14 641

44 522

61 170

105 692

1993

14 412

116 378

87 371

203 749

1994

11 588

47 099

89 235

136 334

1995

7 378

20 995

27 889

48 884

1996

9 093

20 329

37 659

57 988

1997

11 612

62 775

48 455

111 230

1998

9 540

73 017

82 536

155 553

1999

6 932

39 362

31 755

71 117

Total

111 638

553 059

632 667

1 185 726

Average 1990-1999

1 1163

55 305

63 266

118 576

 

Contact address:

Vittorio Leone
Faculty of Agriculture
Department of Vegetal Crops
Section Sylviculture
University of Basilicate
85100 Potenza
ITALY

E-mail: leone@unibas.it


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