Nearly 100,000 hectares burned in less than two weeks in Greece, a record since the deadly 2007 fires that devastated several regions of the country, according to data updated Wednesday from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mistotakis spoke of “a natural disaster of exceptional magnitude”, after 586 fires that devastated several regions “in the four corners of Greece” in a few days.
In fourteen days of dazzling forest fires, more than 93,600 hectares disappeared in this Mediterranean country hit by an exceptional heat wave in early August, according to calculations made from EFFIS data from July 29 to August 11. On average, during the same period between 2008 and 2020, some 2,330 hectares were burned.
“The fires that are happening right now are very destructive and have a very unusual level of intensity,” said Mark Parrington, a scientist at Copernicus, the European climate change service, of which EFFIS is a part.
The symbolic mark of 100,000 hectares burned in Greece is expected to be reached on Thursday or Friday, as the fires continued on Wednesday in the Peloponnese and the island of Euboea, respectively in the west and east of the country.
With more than half of the areas burned, the island of Evia, the second largest in Greece, has the highest price.
Its thick pine forests, still ablaze on Wednesday, have largely burned to ash in the northern part of the island.
“In a way, these fires were predictable due to the very dry season,” said Charalampos Kontoes, director of research at the National Observatory of Athens.
“But I can say that in Greece we have never had such big fires. We (still) have fires in the hot season but not of this size, ”he said.
As of August 11, 110,000 hectares had disappeared since the beginning of the year, more than 90% of which in the last two weeks, compared to 9,188 on average for the period 2008 to 2020, according to the latest EFFIS figures. .