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Number of Forest Fires in Greece Rises Dramatically in 2022

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Forest fires razed swathes of land in Evia, Greece last year. Credit: Greek Reporter/Konstantinos Balalas

There has already been a marked increase in the number of forest fires in Greece in the first three months of 2022, the National Observatory of Athens released on Thursday.

The worrying figure indicates that the country may face even more wildfires this summer as temperatures slowly rise.

The country is still recovering from devastating forest fires that destroyed swathes of land in Evia and other areas of Greece in the summer of 2021.

Yet, considering the amount of forest fires recorded in the first three months of 2022, it seems that this year may overtake 2021 in terms of the number of blazes.

Increase in forest fires in Greece a worrying trend

According to an analysis by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), forest fires in Greece this year have amounted to a 750 percent average increase compared to the number of blazes recorded in the same time span in the period of 2008 to 2021.

Not only has the number of forest fires in Greece increased but so has the amount of land that has been burned, the National Observatory of Athens stated. Currently, the amount of land burned this year alone is the highest it has ever been since 2008.

So far, in the first few months of 2022, thirty forest fires have been recorded in Greece, a massive increase from the usual four. Additionally, the fires have burned over 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of land in the country instead of the average 37.5 (around 92 acres).

Blazes destroyed swathes of land in Evia, across Greece

This is a troubling glimpse into what may come this summer even after the country experienced unprecedented fires last year.

According to a report released in January of 2022, 84 forest fire incidents were mapped in Greece last year, which burned a total area of ​​more than 1,300,000 stremmata (around 130,000 hectares). This is roughly an area double the size of New York.

The Meteo service says that 2021 was by far the worst year of the last thirteen years in terms of the total burned area in Greece. The burned area of ​​2021 approaches the sum of the burned areas of the last eight years (2013 – 2020).

Horror and fear reigned on Evia and in other parts of Greece in August of last year when blazes raced through forests and villages, destroying acreage and homes in their paths.

The forests of Evia were among the worst affected by the wildfires with valuable woodland that covered the mountains of the island destroyed in the hellish conflagration.
According to the NOA, a total of 126,023 acres (51,000 hectares or 510,000 stremmata) has been burned on the island of Evia from the beginning of the fire until August 30th.
That is the equivalent of one-third of the island’s forests.

Greek Reporter delivered more than $172,000 to the victims of the fires on Evia, handing out the donated funds to individuals in two separate events on the island. All the monies had been donated by individuals and corporations around the globe in an effort to aid all those who had lost their primary homes or their businesses to the fires.

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