Fires in Sardinia 2022: a first assessment after the disastrous 2021

A year after the horrific images of Montiferru (and beyond), Sardinia is facing new seasonal fires. Is 2021 behind us?

Between the end of July and the beginning of August 2021, Sardinia was enveloped in fire: record temperatures, pushed upwards by the hot air in the Sahara, which suffocated the population, but above all, burned thousands of hectares around the island, especially in Montiferru.

Although the climatic situation was unusual, with widespread minimum temperatures above 25 ° Celsius, this disaster was more than anything else the result of poor prevention.

Let’s see how it goes a year later, in a markedly hot and dry summer.

2021: and the knots came to the head

For those who live in the area, like the inhabitants of Cuglieri, the tragedy of 2021 was sadly announced: already in June, almost two months before the event, Mayor Panichi, the councilor for the environment Agos, was the head of the forest. The station and the chief of the city’s fire department had written an alarming letter to the region, asking for maintenance of the forest to avoid a probable disaster.

The necessary interventions were clear: thinning of the vegetation, improvement of fire lines, cleaning of dirt roads. But the complaint was not dealt with properly.

Data from the region of Sardinia

The record heat wave between July and August 2021 was the perfect opportunity for arsonists: high temperatures for days, a hot sirocco wind sweeping over the Sardinian land, and first and foremost many acres of wildlife territory.

The official budget was announced by the Sardinia region in June 2022: almost 28,000 hectares burned against an average of 17,000; peaks not recorded since 2009. In particular, 13,000 hectares were burned in Montiferru, of which about 4,000 were forested. The other notable episodes took place in Sindia (1,400 acres), Usellus (1,500 acres) and Borore (1,000 acres).

In Montiferru, the damage involved the historic olive groves of Cuglieri, planted by the Spaniards during their centuries of dominance and the main economic activity in the area: it is estimated that the restoration will take 10/15 years. The image of the wild olive “Sa Tanca Manna” is symbolic, once a lush millennial plant, destroyed by the rage of the flames, but now slowly reborn.

Solidarity and refreshments: the restart from the ashes

Already in the midst of the emergency, the solidarity machine was set in motion to help those affected. Coldiretti moved in large numbers to provide the farmers concerned with the fodder needed for the animals’ livelihoods in the following months.

In addition, four Canadians arrived from France and Greece as part of the European Civil Protection Project RescEuwhich helped the already present aircraft to tame the flames driven by the sirocco wind.

The event also attracted the attention of the Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg, which on the occasion of the Sardinian stage of Extreme E (off-road world championship between electric cars) visited the just hit places in Montiferru and signed a symbolic check to help the population. The champion, who returned to follow the competition again, this year also donated 5,000 trees to be planted in the fall.

At the regional level, at the end of December 2021, 18.8 million euros were allocated, distributed among the affected municipalities according to the extent of the damage suffered (Cuglieri in the lead with 3,326,000 euros). But in late June 2022 the Independence Association Corona de Logu he condemned how this money, due to the bureaucracy and the elections of the Sardinia region, has not yet arrived to support the municipalities and companies concerned.

2022: the worst is behind us?

The efforts of Setzu (www.sangavinomonreale.net)

Although the disasters of 2021 began in late July, this year it seems that the arson frenzy has subsided: despite the drought and a very hot summer, there have been no fires at the moment comparable to the last ones. year. In recent days, the news of the fire near Setzu, in the area of ​​the Gesturi jar: the flames were soon extinguished.

Other small fires have engaged aircraft and land vehicles in various areas of the island without ever reaching too large dimensions.

Crossing fingers for the next two months

We are now getting used to summers stretching into the second half of September and the highlight of the hot season is upon us: the next two months will tell us a lot about how much has been done or not to prevent natural disasters and economic disasters like these from happening again. in 2021.

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