Experts say that Ourense, Galicia (northwestern Spain), is an incendiary power in the world. In 2019, Spain, Portugal and Poland were the three Member States of the European Union (EU) that registered the highest number of fires during the worst year on record for forest fires in the entire planet. More than 400,000 hectares of natural land were burnt, according to reports published by the European Commission.

The province of Ourense is one of the most affected areas by flames in Europe. Forest fires take place cyclically leading to a loop of destruction. According to data published by the Spanish Government, 25% of 60,000 hectares burned in Spain in 2020 (more than 15,000) were burned in the province of Ourense. In this province fire burns the burned land year after year and more than 260,000 hectares have been burned so far this century. Depopulation, population aging, planting of foreign species and the ancient culture of fire are some of the causes of the forest fires that are ravagin this corner of the Galician region.

There is a clear relationship between climate change and forest fires. Fires devastate natural heritage taking lives, destroying homes and covering our existence with smoke. As terrestrial heat increases, frequency and virulence of these extreme events increase. The formula is simple: the more warming, the longer summers, the drier forests and therefore the land burns more easily.

This photographic compilation is a selection of images resulting from ten years of work documenting the problem of forest fires in Ourense.
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