Looking at the map of the depopulation in inland areas of the Mediterranean, one can see that it overlaps to a large extent with the map of forest fires recorded by satellites. This is nothing new for researchers working on fires and climate change: the relationship between the two phenomena is well known. Yet it would not be correct to attribute causality without considering other factors. To understand the relationship between fires and rural exodus, we went to the sites of the most devastating fires of summer 2021 in Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus. An investigation supported by Journalismfund.eu.