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Forest fires

In southern Europe, wildfires involving settlements are becoming increasingly frequent, because of the burgeoning number of houses and infrastructures located within, and adjacent to, areas prone to wildfires. Climate change projections, in particular for the Mediterranean areas, but also for other parts of Europe, indicate an increase in air temperature, heat waves and dry spells, and a decrease in summer rainfall, contributing to increased ignition probability and fire propagation during the summer period
Multiple factors influence the exposure to forest fires, the sensitivity to these and the response capacity (table). The following maps depict some of these factors and provide some indication of the situation (in green). They need to be interpreted as a whole, together with the other factors still requiring local or qualitative information.

Factors that tend to increase the vulnerability to forest fires




High share of urban areas in forest fire risk zones

High share of vulnerable people


Commitment to fight climate change - trust in city governance

High share of population in forest fire risk zones

High share of low-income households - socio-economic status

Trust in other people

Forest fire danger

High share of residential areas in high-risk zones


Drought situations

High share of commercial areas in high-risk zones

Socio-economic status - financial resources

Increasing temperature

High share of transport infrastructure in high-risk zones

Accessibility for fire fighting and evacuation

Increase wind speeds

Proximity to forests and high number of vegetated areas at the edge of cities

Awareness of business and citizens

Human behaviour increasing ignition probability

High share of very young population

Well-functioning institutional structures and processes


High share of lonely pensioner households

Sufficient capacities in administration to act


High share of other service infrastructure in high-risk zones

Availability of effective forest fire management