From 2010 to 2015, for example (Table), the average extent of forest and land fires in various countries remained high. In some countries they are even more extensive than in Indonesia. The area of forest and land fires in Russia reaches about 2.3 million ha each year; in the US it reaches 2.2 million hectares; about 236,000 ha burn in Australia, about 107,000 in Spain and about 84,000 hectares in Portugal. The area of forest and land fires in those countries is larger than in Indonesia, where it is about 64,000 hectares per annum.
The data shows that global forest and land fires are not country specific, not ecosystem specific and not industry/commodity specific either, but a global phenomenon that happens in nearly every country every year.
Table: Area of forest fires in Indonesia and other countries (hectares)
Source: European Commission, 2016 * USA-NOAA, National Centers for Environmental Information ** Environment and Forestry Ministry
Countries that have the best technology and equipment, have management, government and a large amount of funds and a reliable community ethos, such as the US, Australia and European countries, are also unable to prevent forest and land fires. Forest and land fires are not related to whether there is peat land and whether there are oil palm plantations. Russia, the US, Australia, Portugal and Italy do not have oil palm plantations, but forest and land fires also take place, even more than in Indonesia.
The interesting thing to learn is the distribution of fires based sector and land use (Figure). About 70 percent of fires in Europe and North Africa hit forests, timber estates and natural land and about 29 percent of fires take place on agriculture land. This shows that forest areas are the most being gutted by fire in each country.
A great many fires also hit agricultural land in nearly each country in Europe and North Africa. This raises interesting questions. Do farmers in advanced countries like Europe have habits like Indonesian farmers? Or is agriculture the victim of a spill-over of forest fires?