Fire is a factor that historically has had one of the greatest effects shaping the Mediterranean landscape, but the fire regime has changed in recent decades. During the period of 1960-1990, both the annual number of wildfires as well as the annual burned area increased in an alarming way. After 1990, both variables tended to stabilize, though with many ups and downs, but what has not stopped growing is the appearance of a relatively recent phenomenon: large wildfires. Large wildfires cannot be compared with typical wildfires. Many end up escaping from control of extinction mechanisms, given their rapidity of propagation, virulence, and capacity to create secondary outbreaks and risky situations for human settlements. Also, the regeneration of areas impacted by these wildfires is often much more difficult. The 252 large wildfires which occurred in Spain between 2002 and 2012 cost close to 100 lives and burnt almost 1 million hectares, an area equivalent to the whole province of Lugo (Spain).
As a result of temperature increases due to climate change, in the short term a notable increase in forest fires is expected, in part because forests will also tend to be drier. On the other hand however, high-mountain forests, which are currently wetter and not accustomed to the passing of flames, will probably be those most affected by this disturbance.
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