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Wildfires: sharp increase in burnt areas in 2021

Areas ravaged by wildfires in Tunisia increased 322% in the period from January 1 to August 20, 2021 compared to 2020, despite a 25% decrease in the number of fires, the National Observatory of Agriculture (French: ONAGRI) said Monday. Nearly 274 fires were reported from January to August, that is an area of 9,158.2 ha of burnt forests adding up to 14,122.7 ha of destroyed forests in closed military areas (from June 20 to July 2, 2021), according to the same source. Fire-ravaged areas totalled 23,280 ha, i.e., 2.04% of the overall forest area (1,141,621 ha in 2010). Most affected areas are Kasserine (13,264.5 ha) then Jendouba (3,363.2 ha). The governorates of Kef, Zaghouan and Sidi Bouzid saw blazes destroy over 1% of the total forest area. In addition to scrub, the main burnt forest species are mainly Aleppo pine, Zeen oak, pinion pine and eucalyptus. Soaring temperatures drove huge increases in wildfire burnt areas, ONAGRI said.

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