Annals of Forest Science

, 76:90 | Cite as

Fire activity and burned forest lands decreased during the last three decades in Spain

  • Itziar R. UrbietaEmail author
  • Magí Franquesa
  • Olga Viedma
  • José M. MorenoEmail author
Research Paper


Key message

Fire activity has decreased in the last decades in Spain as a whole and in most provinces. However, fire risk factors have increased. Wildfires are burning preferentially treeless areas. Flammable pine areas burn less, while the less flammable oak forests burn more. This decreasing fire activity coincides with increasing fire suppression resources.


Climate and other fire risk factors are changing across the world, including the Mediterranean region. It is important to determine how fire activity is responding to such changes.


To identify spatio-temporal changes in fire frequency and size, main tree species burned, and their association with changes in climate, land-use and land-cover, and fire suppression.


Analysis of trends, breakpoints, and association among the time series of fire variables and fire risk factors during 1980–2013 in Spain at country and provincial levels.


Wildfires in Spain have been decreasing in number, burned area, mean, and largest fire sizes. Fires are more frequently burning treeless areas than forests. Pine forests are burning less, while oak forests are burning more. Fire suppression resources, particularly aerial ones, increased significantly. Risk factors like the mean summer fire weather index, and the forested and the artificial areas all increased.


Despite increasing fire risk factors, wildfires have decreased at the country as a whole and in most provinces in Spain during the last 34 years.


Climate change Fire risk Fire suppression Fire weather Land-use and land-cover change 



We thank ADCIF (Área de Defensa contra Incendios Forestales) from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for providing us with the Spanish National Forest Fire Statistics (EGIF).


The research has received funding from FOCCLIM project (CGL2016-78357-R), funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, and INFOADAPT (FB-2014-CC-INFOADAPT), funded by Fundación Biodiversidad.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaToledoSpain
  2. 2.Department of Geology, Geography, and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AlcaláAlcalá de HenaresSpain

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