9,245 fires broke out this summer season

Greece
Sat, 5 Nov 2022 5:09 GMT
A total of 9,245 fires important enough to require the intervention of the Fire Service broke out between the beginning of the year and October 31, the official end of the fire emergency season.
9,245 fires broke out this summer season

Greece avoided disastrous wildfires this spring and summer, on the scale of those that devastated several locations in central and southern Greece in 2021, but still had to battle thousands of fires, data from the Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry show.

A total of 9,245 fires important enough to require the intervention of the Fire Service broke out between the beginning of the year and October 31, the official end of the fire emergency season. The number of incidents was slightly higher than the average of the past 15 years (8,958), but the total burned area – 23,838 hectares – was 52.4% lower than the 15-year average of 50,080 hectares. Burned forest areas, in particular, were 62% lower than the 15-year average.

The European Forest Fire System (EFFIS) recorded 53 major forest wildfires in Greece during 2022 that damaged 20,800 hectares. In 2021, there were 84 major fires, burning 130,000 hectares. By contrast, there was much less damage in 2019 and 2020, with about 15,000 acres burned each year.

Ministry officials said weather conditions were more favorable this year, but they also attributed part of the reduction in damage to better training of firefighters to deal with emergency situations.

Among the measures taken by the Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry was setting up Special Forest Operation Units to tackle wildfires quickly and efficiently, while ministry officials said that cooperation between different agencies (Fire Service, police, local authorities and forest agency), often problematic and inefficient in the past, was improved this year.

The European response added a crucial element: For the first time, rotating firefighter units from various European countries arrived in Greece ahead of and through the peak wildfire season and were not sent as emergency assistance when the situation had already got out of hand, as was the case on the island of Evia, whose northern half was decimated by raging fires in August 2021.

kathimerini

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