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Conversations #01: What is a mega fire?

Marc Castellnou and Víctor Resco de Dios on the keys to understanding forest fires

Project summary

Project title

Mega Fires: Beyond Extinction


A project by Sonda Internacional


This project seeks to illustrate the circumstances surrounding the mega fires devastating Spain by generating a central guide to this phenomenon, presenting the new fire behavior and explaining its consequences on the land and the people. It will also compile the strategies for combating and living alongside them; unearth how ecosystems recover and utilize them; and share the solution projects mitigating their proliferation. As always, the project will tell these stories through photo, video and graphic resources as the main tool. Because seeing is essential to understanding.


A non-profit media

In-depth journalism is not financially profitable, but it deserves to exist.

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Sonda Internacional Conversations is a video series dedicated to sharing ideas, expertise, experience and possible solutions to environmental problems aggravated by the climate crisis.  

The first installment in the Mega Fires: Beyond Extinction report is a conversation from two perspectives: the scientific world and those who work in firefighting operations. 

We brought together two experts: professor of forestry engineering at the University of Lleida Víctor Resco de Dios and the head of the Forest Action Support Group (GRAF) of the Fire Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Marc Castellnou.

How do you define a mega fire? Can fires influence precipitation months after they’re extinguished? From simple questions to extraordinary phenomena, this conversation condenses insights gained from decades of working on fires and forests. We meet two experts in their prime agreeing, disagreeing and, above all, demonstrating the necessity of shared knowledge.

*Cover photo: A frame from the interview Marc Castellnou and Victor Resco gave Sonda Internacional on April 11, 2023, reproduced on a telephone. © Júlia Cussó for Sonda Internacional


Víctor Resco de Dios is a leading Spanish scientist and forest engineer specialized in the areas of climate change, forest fires and forest bioremediation. With a PhD from the University of Wyoming he is a professor of Forest Engineering at the University of Lleida and author of the book Plant-Fire Interactions: Applying Ecophysiology to Wildfire Management. He has published more than a hundred articles in scientific journals and is a regular contributor to the media. He is one of the most cited scientists in the fields of plant physiology and ecology.

Marc Castellnou is a forestry engineer from the University of Lleida, head of the Support Group for Forest Action (GRAF) of the Fire Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya and strategic analyst of forest fires. He is also an educator and researcher focused on the areas of meteorology, climate change and pyroecology. In recent years he has been using his in-depth knowledge of forest fires to test and improve fire strategy, simulation and suppression methods across Europe.


Sonda Internacional would like to thank the Associació Masia de Castelló for permitting filming on it’s site.


Masia de Castelló, province of Tarragona. © Pablo Tosco for Sonda International

How are we executing this project?

This interview is part of ‘Mega Fires: Beyond Extinction’: a long-term project that is only possible thanks to the collaboration of experts and, above all, the community of partners that supports us to do visual journalism on the climate crisis.

We are a small non-profit media outlet. Our only means of financing is through donations and our budget is very small, so we plan to develop this project as support arrives to finance it.

If you are interested in mega fires and want to support the development of this project, you can make a one-time donation or become a monthly or annual member here.

And if you have any questions or suggestions, do not hesitate to contact us.

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