(Reuters) – Extreme fires have swallowed up huge swathes of land, destroyed homes and threatened livelihoods across the world in the first half of 2022.
Below is a list of the bigger blazes – once relatively rare events that scientists say have become increasingly frequent and fierce, fuelled by heat waves, droughts and the growing menace of climate change.
* In South Korea, a fire started in the coastal county of Uljin, posing a threat to the Hanul Nuclear Power Plant. The fire that started in early March consumed around 42,008 acres and forced more than 7,000 people to evacuate, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory services.
* In Morocco, several fires ripped through the provinces of Larache, Ouezzane, Tetouane and Taza. They burned nearly 5,000 acres, displaced thousands of people and killed one person.
* In a Czech national park on the German border, a fire broke out on July 24 and burned about 5,651.3 acres, according to a report by the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System(GDACS).
* In France, wildfires blazed in southwestern Gironde region, burning roughly 47,700 acres as of July 19. About 34,000 people evacuated.
* In Germany, a fire at an ammunitions dump in western Berlin on Aug. 4 burned forested area almost the size of three football pitches and triggered explosions.
* In Greece, a wildfire broke out on July 23 on the island of Lesbos near Turkey . It consumed around 4,200.8 acres, according to the European Space Agency. This month, multiple fires raged near the city of Athens as well as in the western Peloponnese, in northern Greece, and the island of Salamina.
* In Italy, a fire started on July 20 near Carso and spread across the border to Slovenia. It had burned over 5,000 acres as of July 21.
On July 19, a fire broke out in Tuscany and destroyed 1,606 acres as of July 20.
* In Portugal, a wildfire ripping across Murca municipality consumed roughly 24,711 to 29,653 acres and killed two people.
Earlier in July, several wildfires broke out in Ourém municipality and burned over 7,413.1 acres, according to a report by Copernicus, EU’s Emergency Management Service.
* In Spain, as of July 19, more than 30 wildfires were still ravaging parts of the country. Authorities focused on blazes in Castile and Leon and Galicia.
On July 18, a blaze started in Zaragoza province and burned about 4,942 acres, according to a report by Copernicus.
Earlier, a fire broke out in Zamora province and scorched at least 49,421 acres of land.
On June 8 firefighters managed to stabilise a wildfire in Malaga province that ravaged 8,600 acres of woods and bushes.
* In Turkey, a wildfire broke out on July 13 in the province of Mugla along the Aegean coast. Nearly 1,800 acres were ravaged and some 3,530 people were evacuated.
* In Canada, a blaze broke out on July 14 in British Columbia and burned nearly 2,000 acres.
* In the United States, the so-called McKinney Fire in northern California near the Oregon border, has charred 56,000 acres acres, forced some 4,500 residents to flee and killed four people.
Oak Fire just west of California’s Yosemite National Park burned 19,244 acres as of July 26 and about 3,700 homes had to evacuate.
On July 8, a fire broke out in part of Yosemite National Park, home of some of the world’s largest and oldest giant sequoia trees. As of July 13, flames had consumed 3,772 acres, according to a report by InciWeb, a U.S. interagency all-risk incident information management system.
On April 17, the Pipeline Fire in Arizona burned over 20,000 acres and prompted more than 2,100 homes to evacuate.
In New Mexico, the largest blaze was the merger of the Hermits Peak Fire and the Calf Canyon Fire in San Miguel and Santa Fe counties, which started on April 6 and April 19, respectively, and charred 341,735 acres as of July 15, according to InciWeb.
In California, on Jan. 21, Colorado Fire started, burning as per Jan. 22 about 1,500 acres.
* In Argentina, the Corrientes wildfires, in the Corrientes province, near Paraguay’s borders, started in February, and ravaged about 2,223,948 acres of nature. It displaced or killed wild animals such as capybaras and alligators.
NOTE: For this list, a fire is ranked “extreme” after burning 1,000 or more acres.
Reporting by Dina Kartit; Editing by Lasocki Boleslaw, David Gregorio, Ed Osmond and Susan Fenton