Romania sees sevenfold increase in vegetation fires in 2022
Over 700 fires have been registered during the first six months of the year in forests managed by Romania's National Forest Authority - Romsilva, compared to 98 in the same period of last year.
Almost all of the fires – 693 out of 711 – were in hill and plain areas.
The main cause of the fires was vegetation fires in neighboring agricultural properties, according to Romsilva. The fires spread from the crops and the fields to the forests, aided by scorching heat and dryness.
Dry vegetation remains a persistent problem due to the ongoing drought. Romania's minister of environment, Tanczos Barna, asked farmers to be very careful while using fire in their trade or to stop using it altogether.
"Do not use fire, because it is an extremely dangerous period. We cannot let ourselves to reach the situation of Spain, Greece, France, and so on," he said, cited by Biziday.
Over 10,000 hectares of land were affected as a result of the fires, the vast majority of it litterfall fires. Roughly 285,000 saplings were destroyed, along with 1,129 cubic meters of wood. Vegetation fires in state-managed forests caused damages of almost RON 1 million (EUR 202,000) in the first half of 2022.
Gorj county had the most fires so far, 124, followed by Sibiu (73), Caraș–Severin (48), and Mehedinți (44).
Romsilva said it was intensifying patrols, alongside a host of other measures meant to combat the spread of vegetation fires.
The Forest Authority administers 48% of Romania’s forests, over 3 million hectares.