dpatopbilder - 23.07.2022, Spanien, Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Ein Löschhubschrauber schüttet Wasser auf einen Waldbrand. Die verbrannte Fläche beträgt bereits mehr als 2 000 Hektar und der Windwechsel erschwert die Löscharbeiten. Spanien ist das europäische Land mit bisher den meisten verbrannten Hektar im Jahr 2022. Foto: Europa Press/EUROPA PRESS/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

It was kitchen lighters that convicted the man. Investigators apparently found her in the car of the 55-year-old German. A forester had observed him in the west of Mallorca in the Calvià region in the forest and became suspicious. As Mallorca’s police announced, worse could only be prevented by the rapid arrival of the fire brigade. The man is now accused of causing seven forest fires in the region. During the interrogation before the magistrate, the German denied the arson and was initially released subject to conditions.

In Mallorca, as in all of Spain, the landscape has dried up completely after a long period of lack of rain and a heat wave that has lasted more than two weeks. Even the smallest spark is enough to start devastating fires. The population and tourists on the island have been asked to exercise extreme caution.

Mallorca has so far been spared from major fires. However, fierce fires have been raging on the mainland and on the holiday island of Tenerife in the past few days, but most of them have now been brought under control. In no other European country was so much nature destroyed by flames this year.

2022 is already the most devastating forest fire year for Spain since records began. In the first seven months of the current year, the flames destroyed more than 197,000 hectares of forest, the state TV broadcaster RTVE reported, citing the European earth observation system Copernicus. That is already more than in the previous record year 2012, when the forest fires in Spain destroyed 189,376 hectares. For comparison: The almost 200,000 hectares (2000 square kilometers) that have been destroyed so far in 2022 correspond to 80 percent of the area of ​​Saarland.

The major fire in the north of the Canary Island of Tenerife, which has now been contained, is said to have been triggered by an arsonist. The fire has so far destroyed around 28 square kilometers of natural space. Major damage in the famous Teide Nature Park could initially be prevented. Mainly thanks to a fleet of firefighting planes and helicopters that poured millions of liters of water onto the sea of ​​flames. Around 600 people who had been evacuated over the weekend were able to return to their homes.

But the danger on the volcanic island is not over yet. Because there may soon be a fire somewhere else. “We suspect that a pyromaniac is at work in the fire area,” said Tenerife’s Environment Minister Isabel García.

According to the authorities, 78 percent of all forest fires in the Canary Islands have been caused by humans in recent years. Either by arson or by negligence, for example in agricultural work with machines that cause sparks.

Careless handling of open fire and cigarette butts also plays a role again and again. It is said that only a small part of the fires are provoked by lightning or high-voltage lines.

In Portugal, arsonists are also causing serious damage to the forests. More than 50 people have been arrested in recent weeks on suspicion of causing forest fires. In addition, several pyromaniacs known to the police, who are considered potential repeat offenders, have been placed under house arrest given the extreme risk of forest fires in the country.