En-en adult card 35 forest fires

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Card #35: Forest Fires

En-en adult card 35 front.png

Forest fires start and spread more easily during droughts and heatwaves.




  • Human health 630 people died in Californian wildfires in autumn 2018.

Other possible links

Other consequences

  • Deforestation Deforestation is partly done by burning the forest, which can then degenerate into uncontrolled fire. This is what happened in the summer of 2019 in the Amazon and Australia.
  • Aerosols Smoke from wildfires has been shown to carry toxic particles.
  • Terrestrial biodiversity This is a more minor link, except for specific biodiversity-rich areas.
  • Decline of agricultural yields Generally forests burn better than wheat fields.

To go further


A Mega-fire is an exceptionally large fire, causing large local fires that devastate expansive areas, without this appellation corresponding to a very precise scientific definition. We usually speak of a mega-fire when the affected area is at least 1,000 to 10,000 hectares. Mega-fires account for only 3% of all fires, yet represent 50% of global losses[1]. 96% of the last 500 mega-fires in the last 10 years took place during a period of abnormally high heat and/or drought[2].

Examples of events

In 2018, in California, 1,975,086 acres (799,200 hectares, about the size of Corsica) were burned, for a total of 8,000 fires and 100 casualties, but the burned area doubled in 2020 to reach 1,635,300 hectares (larger than Ile-De-France: the greater Paris area)[3].

In the 2019-2020 season, Australia saw a total area of 17 million hectares go up in smoke[4]. This surface area represents a third of France.

Forest fires on Mount Kilimanjaro on the rise[5].

Forest fires on the rise in Portugal and Greece[6]


Fire the Earth, on the mega-fires (French)