Greece Wildfire Rages, Fueled By Strong Winds Amid Extreme Heatwave

by | Jul 1, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Greece Wildfire Rages, Fueled By Strong Winds Amid Extreme Heatwave

A massive wildfire erupted southeast of Athens on Sunday afternoon. The fire in the Keratea district began in the morning and quickly escalated, threatening residential areas. Strong winds fueled the blaze, making containment efforts challenging. This incident adds to Greece wildfire season during a scorching summer heatwave.

Greece Wildfire Rages, Fueled By Strong Winds Amid Extreme Heatwave

Emergency Response and Evacuations Amid Greece Wildfire

The Athens News Agency reported that the wildfire in Keratea burned close to homes, with strong winds worsening the situation. The emergency alert system 112 was activated, urging residents to evacuate from six areas near the capital. The Ertnews channel reported that at least three houses were completely destroyed.

To control the flames, authorities deployed around 140 firefighters, forest commandos, 39 vehicles, eight helicopters, and nine aircraft. Efforts were hampered by gusts exceeding 100 kph (62 mph). The fire on Mount Parnitha, north of Athens, threatened to spread to a nature reserve, complicating containment efforts. Water-carrying planes had to stop operating through the night due to strong winds.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis acknowledged the challenging wildfire season in his weekly Facebook post. He stated, “The difficult times are still ahead of us. Our effort is continuous. In this effort, our allies are new tools that build a new culture of prevention and responsibility.

Fires Across Greece and Prevention Efforts

The wildfire threat is not limited to the mainland. On Saturday afternoon, a large wildfire broke out on Serifos island but was controlled by early Sunday. Serifos Mayor Konstantinos Revintis reported that “all of southwestern Serifos has burned,” causing damage to houses, cottages, warehouses, and chapels.

On Mount Parnitha, known as “the lungs of Athens,” a wildfire ignited on Saturday afternoon and was controlled by the evening. Reinforcements from other regions and volunteer firefighters aided the effort. Mitsotakis highlighted the importance of aerial surveillance with drones, which helped detect the fire immediately.

More than forty wildfires erupted across Greece on Saturday, driven by wind speeds exceeding 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph). Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias stated, “The fire has no active front, but we still have a long way to go and will work on it all night.” Thankfully, no homes were threatened by this particular fire.

Climate Change and New Prevention Strategies

Meteorologists do not expect the winds to weaken, complicating efforts to control the blazes. Wildfires are common in Greece but have become more devastating in recent years due to hotter, drier, and windier summers. Scientists attribute these conditions to climate change.

In response to last summer’s deadly forest fires and following its warmest winter on record, Greece has implemented a new wildfire prevention strategy. This includes deploying an extra fire truck to each new blaze, speeding up air support, and clearing forests. These measures aim to enhance the country’s ability to prevent and manage wildfires effectively.

The ongoing extreme heatwave and strong winds present significant challenges for Greece’s firefighting efforts. Authorities continue to work tirelessly to protect lives and properties from the devastating impact of Greece wildfires.

Also Read: Global Heatwave 2024: Causes, Health Risks And Preventative Measures

Author

  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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