Number of Wildfires in Greece Higher in 2024; Country Braces For ‘Difficult’ Summer

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Wildfires successful  GreeceLow rainfall implicit the past fewer months is besides compounding fears. File photo. Credit: Odysseas Karadis/Greek Reporter

Greece experienced 3,543 wildfires betwixt January 1 and May 1, a emergence of 22 percent compared to past year’s 2,907 blazes, according to the Fire Service, which is bracing for a precise hard season.

What is causing peculiar alarm is that “some of these fires displayed characteristics akin to blazes we would expect during the summer,” Theodore Giannaros, an adept astatine the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

“We are besides precise alarmed by the information that we had a blaze astatine a precise precocious altitude successful the Pierian Mountains, which should person been covered by snowfall that would person prevented specified a occurrence from starting,” helium added.

The caput of probe astatine the NOA, Kostas Lagouvardos added that debased rainfall implicit the past fewer months is besides compounding fears, with the European Drought Observatory having already issued a informing for Greece.

“A hard season” for Greece

Last wintertime was the warmest since modern records began successful 1960, according to the National Observatory of Athens, which analyzed European Union outer data. The six warmest Greek winters connected grounds person occurred successful the past decade.

That’s against the backdrop of caller information revealing that Europe is the world’s fastest-warming continent, its temperatures rising astatine astir doubly the planetary average.

Vassilis Kikilias, the curate for clime situation and civilian protection, says authorities expect yearly conditions to worsen further. “It volition beryllium a precise hard occurrence season, a precise hard summer,” says Kikilias. “We had a adust wintertime and autumn temperatures lasting until December. So we’re facing the clime situation caput on,” helium told the Associated Press recently.

Wildfires ravaged Greece successful 2023

Greece was deed by hundreds of wildfires past summer. The state witnessed was the largest wildfire successful Europe since records began successful 2000 successful the portion of Evros, north-east Greece.

According to a European Union official, the megafire decimated much than 96,000 hectares, an country bigger than the Berlin metropolitan region, and killed astatine slightest 20 people. The fires mostly affected Greece’s biggest Natura 2000 site, the Dadia National Park successful Evros.

Yet this protected country was not the lone country to spell up successful flames. Over the summer, among others, the Attica portion and the vacation islands of Rhodes and Corfu were hit.

This year, Greece is doubling the fig of firefighters successful specialized units to immoderate 1,300, and adopting tactics from the United States to effort and outflank fires with airborne units scrambled to physique breaks successful the predicted way of the flames.

Crew members see forestry experts and firefighters with varied skills, galore developed successful grooming with colleagues successful France, Spain and the United States.

Mostly funded by the European Union, Greece has launched a €2.1 cardinal programme to overhaul its catastrophe effect capability, ordering caller water-dropping aircraft, drones, occurrence trucks, grooming facilities, and an artificial intelligence-driven sensor web to observe aboriginal signs of fume and flooding.

But the caller instrumentality won’t commencement arriving until 2025. Greek authorities are doubling down connected grooming and caller firefighting methods, with different pugnacious play expected this year.

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