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Statement by Antonia Mochan, spokesperson of Janez Potocnik, on forest fires

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With the forest fire season barely started, provisional figures show that 3376 square kilometres of land has already been burned in 2007, compared to a total of 3585 square kilometres in 2006, with July 2007 one of the worst ever months on the record. These figures were released by the European Forest Fire Information System, managed by the European Commission, which produces early warnings of fire risk and damage assessment. Following warnings of high fire risk at the end of June in countries such as Greece and Cyprus, the second half of July saw a sharp increase in fires and burnt areas in Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Italy. Satellite images used to map all fires affecting an area of more than 50 hectares in these four countries alone showed a total of 2229 square kilometres of burnt land. Figures for some other countries that experienced major fires, such as Turkey and Albania, still have to be included in EFFIS. EFFIS forecasts continued risk from forest fires for the days ahead and sends these forecasts to the Civil Protection and Forest Services of the Member States every day between 1 February and 31 October. The situation in South-West Europe, which had relatively moderate conditions in July 2007, changed dramatically, particularly in the south of the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands. These two areas are experiencing increased fires, which have not yet been included in the EFFIS figures, and continued heightened risk.
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Type: EbS   Reference: 52847   Date: 02/08/2007   Duration: 00:02:20
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