Food for Thought General

Wildfires in Greece

Excursion and photografic reportage

Wildfires have been part of the ecosystems forever. However, increasing heat, changing rain patterns and other climate-related changes have vastly increased the likelihood that fires will start more often and burn more intensely and widely than they have in the past.

According to data from the European Commission, in recent years, wildfires have had a huge impact on Europe’s natural capital, economy and citizens. In the South of Europe (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France), every year 500.000 acres are burnt in average every year. In 2019 and 2020, the season of wildfires was extended, starting earlier or lasting longer than expected, while the number of fires and burnt areas exceeded the average of the last twelve years in record time. Together with the increase in the number of days per year with high to extremely high risk of wildfire, it is estimated that the impact of extreme fires on large areas is likely to increase in the future, with long-term consequences.

In Greece, in the last years the number of wildfires has increased by 160% and the size of the burnt areas has increased by 300%. In the 19th of May 2021, in Geraneia Ori in Western Attica (65 kms from Athens) burnt 52.000 acres of forest. It was the most destructive, in relation with the size of the burnt area, wildfire of the last years and the only major wildfire that happened in Greece in a May.