Nothing Alarming: Europe Data Show No Upward Trend In Droughts And Forest Fires

German online NOVO-Argumente looks at the forest fire situation in Germany and Europe.

Currently parts of Europe are experiencing severe drought conditions and forest fires are raging in Germany. Climate activists and the mainstream are claiming it’s climate change, and it’s unprecedented.

But NOVO-Argumente looks at the historical data going back decades and finds nothing alarming.

Over the long-term average (1993 to 2019), 1035 forest fires in Germany were recorded with an average of 656 hectares affected. The amount of damage is just 1.38 million euros. Forest fires therefore cost us about as much per year as we spend every 30 minutes on subsidizing solar and wind energy.

“No evidence of an increase in forest fires”

As the following graph shows, there is no evidence of an increase in forest fires over the last 30 years in terms of number and extent. The peaks are not seen in this chart from the Federal Environmental Agency because they are in the past. In 1975, over 8000 hectares burned in Lower Saxony alone. In contrast, in the year 2021, which is not yet recorded in the graph, there were only 548 forest fires in the whole of Germany on a total area of 148 hectares.

Number of forest fires and area damaged.

Drought from climate change

One reason more and more people are getting nervous is that we have recently (2018 and 2019) had very dry years. Is this climate change? Is it getting drier and drier in the summer in Germany due to climate change?

If we look at the summer precipitation over the last 140 years, which is shown on Jörg Kachelmann’s weather channel, we have to answer ‘no’. There is no clear trend:

Summer precipitation mean for Germany, 1881-2019. 

And if we pick out the peaks, we see that both four of the driest summers and four of the wettest summers are in the recent past, the last 30 years:

Driest years listed on left table, the wettest years on the right table.

In winter, there is certainly no sign of a trend toward more dryness. In the list, seven wet winters compare to only three dry winters since 1990.

“There is also no increase in fires in Europe, and especially in southern European countries, but an overall downward trend.”

In Europe, too, and especially in the southern European countries, there has been no increase in fires, but an overall downward trend, as the following graph from the European Environment Agency shows:

Of course, the Agency points out that even though there has been a decline in the last 30 years despite global warming, the area could double in the future, given an (unlikely) rise in global temperatures of three degrees. Unless fire management is improved, then the increase could also be ‘substantially’ limited. In other words, even under worst-case scenarios for global warming, forest fires will be a relatively easy problem to manage in the future, even though forest fire risk may increase.

For the near future, in Germany, the energy crisis could play a part in prevention: once a major firewood gathering effort gets underway in the rural population of eastern Germany, the fire load of the forests there, which has grown over the years, could be significantly reduced in the medium term.”

Full article in German at NOVO Argumente

10 responses to “Nothing Alarming: Europe Data Show No Upward Trend In Droughts And Forest Fires”

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  2. John Hultquist

    ” a major firewood gathering effort ”

    In houses with a good wood stove this will provide heat and a cooking surface.
    Such households should also stock drinking water, food, and batteries for light.
    Burning wood, or anything, in a closed space has its own set of problems.
    This is a good time to produce safety announcements.
    I wish all those involved the best of luck.

    1. toorightmate

      Thank goodness that wood does not produce CO2 when it burns!!!
      Not like that horrible coal or oil or gas.
      CO2-free wood – it’s the “in Thing”.

      1. oebele bruinsma

        Under pressure everything becomes fluid.

  3. Hasbeen

    We has a fuel, [wood], stove when I was a kid. Not only did it cook our food, & warm most of the house, but heated the hot water tank in the ceiling. This stove was never allowed to go out, & it was my job to keep the wood box full.

    The wood came in about every 3 weeks or so from a friends property 15 miles out of town, where they were clearing another 500 acre paddock for grazing, in about 10 Ft by 2Ft diameter logs. I learnt early how to keep an axe very sharp.

    Just in passing our school seniors football team were never beaten. All 3 front row forwards, my self & the 2 props had fuel stoves at home. Nothing like chopping up a few cords of wood to develop big chest, shoulder & arm mussels.

    The old saying that “chopping fire wood warms you twice, once when you chop it, & once when you burn it” is very true. Pity today they would use a chain saw.

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  5. Richard Greene

    There is no logical reason to connect forest fire acres burned with tiny changes in the regional temperature. Up to 90% of forest ires are manmade How would a tiny temperature increase change that? If the fuel is already dry in the fire season, how could a slightly higher temperature make the fuel any drier? Precipitation could affect acres burned, but there is no obvious trend in the chart. Globally, precipitation has been rising along with global warming. Forest fire acres burned could not be a global warming variable.

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