60,000 hectares lost to wildfires in 2023. Image shows a fire on a hillside in Italy

60,000 hectares lost to wildfire in 2023 so far

Environment News

In Italy more than 60,000 hectares were lost to wildfire in the first eight months of the year, farmers’ association say Coldiretti.

The farmers’ association Coldiretti reported today that in 2023 to date, more than 60,000 hectares of crops have been lost to wildfires. This is more than were destroyed in the whole of 2022, the association added.

Intense heatwaves in July and August have also caused water levels in lakes and rivers to fall. The situation will only be reversed if the rain forecast starting from next week is “continuous and moderate”.

“Heavy thunderstorms with water bombs and violent rainfall only aggravate the situation, also causing landslides and mudslides, since dry soil is unable to absorb the excess water,” said Coldiretti.

The heat and drought have had a negative impact on this year’s crop production, with the wheat harvest down by 10% and wine grapes by 14%. One of the hardest hit is pears with the harvest down by 63% compared to 2022, according to the farmers’ association.

Likewise, the honey harvest is down by 70% and milk production in cowsheds has fallen by up to 20%, Coldiretti said.

Overall, so far in 2023 extreme weather events linked to the climate crisis, including heavy rainfall, low temperatures and scorching heat in July and August, have already caused more than 6 billion euros in damage to agriculture and rural infrastructure, it added.

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