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HomeTopicsEnvironment and WildlifeCosta Rica Experiences Most Devastating Wildfire Season in a Decade

Costa Rica Experiences Most Devastating Wildfire Season in a Decade

The 2024 wildfire season came to an end in the country. Unfortunately, it was the most devastating one in the last 10 years. According to data from the Fire Department, 141 emergencies were addressed and 27,865 hectares were burned.

“The climax of the fire season occurred in the month of March; we recorded a fire emergency every 8 minutes, whereas on average, one is reported every 20 minutes,” they pointed out.

The country experienced a historic number of forest fires, practically tripling the number compared to 2023. Additionally, the most affected province was Guanacaste, which closed with 92 fires. According to statistics, this is more than the total of the last 9 years combined.

The Fire Department revealed that 13,800 incidents were caused due to grass burning and fires in waste areas.

According to firefighters, several factors may have contributed to the increase in forest fires. “We believe that the high temperatures, the strength of the winds, and the absence of rainfall favored this scenario, characteristic of the El Niño phenomenon,” they added.

Each year, during the first half of the year, an alert is issued due to the risk generated by the very dry conditions for fires. According to the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the El Niño phenomenon generated an increase in temperatures, a decrease in humidity, and an increase in dry winds, all of which may increase the number of fires.

“Although this represents a small percentage of the national territory, its recovery will take years,” said the Minister of Environment and Energy, Franz Tattenbach. The Minister pointed out that there is a serious risk to flora and fauna, as well as to people. The quality of water and soils may be affected, and carbon emissions released can be extremely harmful to people’s health.

The Minister thanked those who responded to the emergencies and highlighted their important work to prevent further damage.

 “We would like to emphasize that thanks to the work of the Forestry Operational Unit and the Fire Stations, more than 100,000 hectares were saved,” he added.

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