Eurosite News | 02.08. 2022

“Over 60 firefighters fought the forest fire overnight. The fire department got the fire under control on Wednesday evening, but firefighters still struggle to extinguish it.”

What sounds like a story from the Mediterranean actually is a news report about a fire that occurred in Limburg, the Netherlands this week.

Wildfires are no longer a problem confined to Southern Europe. They are fast becoming more frequent and severe in Northwest Europe where prolonged droughts and abnormally high temperatures create the perfect conditions for catastrophes to strike. According to a new UN report, natural disasters in 2021 and 2022 cost over 10,000 human lives and over $280 billion in damage worldwide. However, the report stresses that many of those disasters have a man-made cause and are avoidable:

“Extreme fires can be reduced by using natural processes as a management tool, either by strategically using fire through prescribed burning or a “let it burn” strategy, as well as using goats and other livestock to clear out built-up vegetation. Such practices not only help build ecosystem resilience and reduce the likelihood of megafires but also provide co-benefits for livelihoods and biodiversity.”

Eurosite members from Mediterranean countries have a wealth of experience in wildfire management, prevention and mitigation. Our network will help spread their knowledge of best practices to members and partners in other regions, help them adapt their site management to changing climate and improve their natural disaster preparedness. Improving overall ecosystem resilience to climate extremes is a vital part of the proposed EU Restoration Law, which needs broad political support.