The map of forest fires in Andalusia

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Spain

Publishing organisation: SUR

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 2022-11-06

Language: Spanish

Authors: Encarni Hinojosa


Encarni Hinojosa (Spain, 1982) is a visual journalist with 15 years of experience. She is a specialist in infographics and data visualization and has been awarded for her work on several occasions: SND and ÑH (SND Spain) awards, ‘Ciudad de Málaga’ journalism award or Spanish Ministry of Defense journalism award.

She also teaches design, infographics and data visualization at several colleges and universities.

Project description:

> The map of forest fires in Andalusia

Since records have been kept until today, **2,671 forest fires** have burned the mountains of **Andalusia (Spain)**, 402 within the territory of Malaga.

This makes **Malaga the second most affected province** in the region. A conclusion that could only be reached by **mapping the large official database** on forest fires in Andalusia.

Impact reached:

This is a **investigation work using geolocation data** on all forest fires (large and small) that have occurred in Andalusia (Spain) since records have been kept.

The result is a **unique map**, as there is no other visualization that represents the burned area of the region from 1975 to 2022.

This personal project was very well considered by the newspaper managers and they decided to make the theme the **opening of the Sunday paper** (most important day) both on paper and on the web. A situation that **is not usual with visual narrative themes**.

Techniques/technologies used:

The dataviz elements are:
* 1 3d map: representing the orography of the terrain (mountains), with municipality finder to see the fires close to the reader and with filter by years (Mapbox and JavaScript).
* 1 column chart with filter: evolution of totals in number and area burned (Datawrapper).
* 1 bar chart with filter: totals by provinces in number and area burned (Datawrapper).
* 1 line chart with filter: to compare the evolution between the first and second most affected province in number and area burned (Datawrapper).
* 1 scrollstory with map: the 10 largest fires in the region (Mapbox and JavaScript).
* 2 animations: to compare the largest fire in the region with the largest fire in Malaga (Illustrator + GIF).
* 1 3d map: representing the orography of the terrain (mountains) with the 10 largest fires in Malaga and the location of 3 protected mountains (Mapbox and JavaScript).

In addition, a paper version of these visualizations was produced (link 4).

Context about the project:

The 2022 fire season is the worst of the present century in Spain according to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), but is it so in our region (Andalusia) and in our province (Malaga)?

**Valuable unused data:**
There was no official report compiling all forest fires from 1975 (first records) to 2022. But the Environmental Information Network of Andalusia did offer a dataset with the perimeter and basic data of all forest fires in Andalusia from 1975 to 2021 in GeoJSON format.
I did a data journalism work to edit and transform this dataset in order to have the conclusions of the report. In addition, I had to paint myself by hand in GeoJSON the perimeters of the Andalusian forest fires of the year 2022 using several official sources.

**Confirmation of the hypothesis?**
No, in Andalusia 2022 was not the worst year. But we do confirm the headline that, according to the data since records have been kept, Malaga is the second province of Andalusia most affected by forest fires.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

Working in a small region (and newsroom) doesn’t mean you can do big data-driven journalism.

Precisely, there is an **advantage** in that there is almost no competition, since the other regional media do not have the capacity or talent to carry them out and the big national media do not focus on regional data.

Project links: