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Conversations #02: How do weather and climate influence fire behavior?

Marcelino Núñez and Isabel Vázquez Garrido analyze fire behavior and its relationship with atmospheric phenomena

A frame from the interview Isabel Vázquez Garrido and Marcelino Núñez gave Sonda Internacional on June 2023, reproduced on a telephone. © Júlia Cussó for Sonda Internacional

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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By Mikel Konate | Lily Mayers | Pablo Tosco

11 July 2023

In the second installment of the Sonda Internacional Conversations series, we sat down with Isabel Vázquez Garrido, analyst in the Technical Unit of FIRE Analysis of the Andalusian Forest Fire Plan (INFOCA), and Marcelino Núñez, meteorologist at the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), to analyze how meteorological phenomena influence the way in which mega-fires start and spread.

Does climate change affect fire behavior and suppression strategies? What determines the intensity and speed of fire spread? Can fires alter the weather?

In this talk on the banks of the Albuera del Castellar reservoir in Extremadura, the two experts answer these and other questions in a unique dialogue that brings together two vital spheres of knowledge surrounding mega fires: meteorology and fire behavior. 

Conversations is a video series dedicated to disseminating and sharing knowledge, ideas, experiences and possible solutions to the environmental challenges created or aggravated by the climate crisis.


Isabel Vázquez Garrido is a fire analyst and forest engineer, with extensive experience in air operations. She has participated in missions as a member of the FAST rapid response team, both in operational and training deployment. She is currently an analyst in the Technical Unit of FIRE Analysis of INFOCA, and has developed various freelance projects on different topics within the world of forest fires, such as the design of a methodology to assess the impact of aerial operations on carbon emissions and climate change.

Marcelino Núñez is director of research, development and innovation against forest fires at the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) and territorial delegate of the agency in Extremadura. He studied Physics at the University of Extremadura, and in his work as a meteorologist he has specialized in forest fire risk analysis, climatology, and climate indices.


Albuera del Castellar reservoir, Badajoz province, Spain.


© Pablo Tosco for Sonda Internacional

How are we executing this project?

This interview is part of Mega Fires: Beyond Extinction, a long-term project only possible thanks to the collaboration of experts and, above all, the community of partners that support our 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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