“Today's fires in the Mediterranean can no longer be extinguished... Large fires are getting bigger and bigger,” he said.
The JRC data covers wildfires bigger than 30 hectares, so if smaller fires were included the total burnt would be even higher.
Southern European countries such as Portugal and Greece experience fires most summers, but hotter temperatures are pushing severe wildfire risk north, with Germany, Slovenia and the Czech Republic among those hit this season.
Some action can help to limit blazes, such as setting controlled fires that mimic the low-intensity fires in natural ecosystem cycles.
But without steep cuts to the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change, scientists concur that heatwaves, wildfires and other climate impacts will worsen significantly.