I am working in QGIS 3.16.14 with a dataset that has many overlapping polygons representing fires that occurred in different years (all in one shapefile). I would like to clip the polygons such that there is a single layer (no overlap) and the remaining polygons represent the most recent fire at any location.
For instance, say there are three partially overlapping polygons (fires in 1980, 1992 and 2010; see image), I want that area clipped so only the section of the 2010 polygon remains where it overlaps with the 1992 and 1980 polygons. Any parts of the 1980 polygon under the visible 1992 polygon should be removed too. Any non-overlapping areas should be retained as-is. For the final result, if any year was turned off, it should be blank underneath.
Similar questions have been asked before, but the approach in the comment here did not work for me. 'Delete duplicate geometries' is not deleting all overlaps. An ArcGIS solution was provided here but I don't have access to Arc.
I have done a lot of searching and experimentation, but haven't come up with the desired result.
How do I do this in QGIS?