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Greece Wildfires in 2022: The Sad Story So Far

Crews battled the large wildfire that ignited on Mount Penteli on July 19th. Credit: Odysseas Karadis/Greek Reporter

This year has already been a damaging one for wildfires in Greece with the most recent example being the large blaze on Mount Penteli in Athens’ northern suburbs that ignited on July 19th.

In the first few months of 2022, thirty forest fires were recorded in the country, a massive increase from the usual four. Those fires burned over 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of land compared to the average 37.5 (around 92 acres).

Since June, the wildfires in Greece have brought more devastation with strong winds and dry weather fanning the flames.

Recent Wildfires Across Greece Include:

July 19th – Mount Penteli, Northern Suburbs of Athens

Hundreds of firefighters brought the wildfire under control on Wednesday, a day after it broke out on the slopes of Mount Penteli in the northern suburbs of Athens.

Small fires continued to burn in the areas of Dioni, Dasamari, Anthousa, Panorama Pallini, and Drafi, but they were being contained, officials said. Dozens of houses were either entirely burned or damaged by the fire. Thirty-four people were hospitalized while nine settlements were evacuated.

July 15th – Agios Vassilios in Rethymno, Crete

Greece fires
July 15th wildfire in the area of Rethymno in Crete. Credit: Twitter / Hellenic Fire Service @pyrosvestiki

The wildfire in the area of Rethymno, rekindled from strong winds a day after it had been doused. That area in the Cretan municipality of Agios Georgios includes luxury rental homes for tourists, some of which were evacuated. The mayor said he believed the fire was a result of arson.

July 15th – Feriza, Southeast Athens
The morning wildfire in Feriza prompted calls for nearby residents to evacuate amid strong winds, as a hundred firefighters, volunteers, and municipal workers responded to the blaze that broke out in a vegetated area of Feriza. July 15th was a particularly devastating one. A total of 51 wildfires were recorded throughout Greece in a 24-hour period.

July 13th – Samos island
The wildfire had deadly consequences when a helicopter that had been battling the blaze crashed into the sea, killing two of the four people aboard. Authorities said 27 firefighters, four water-dropping aircraft, and three helicopters had been dispatched to the blaze.

July 5th – Porto Germeno, West of Athens
A large wildfire broke out at Porto Germeno, a seaside resort west of Athens, forcing authorities to evacuate a nearby village. Strong north-westerly winds in the area of the Gulf of Corinth pushed that blaze toward the town of Psatha.

July 4th – Schimatari, North of Athens
A wildfire that broke at Schimatari north of Athens was eventually brought under control. At one point, municipal authorities called for the precautionary evacuation of Dilesi, a seaside resort town in the region of Viotia.

June 24 – Mount Athos
A fire that broke out on the holy site of Mt Athos did not damage the monasteries the region is famous for. The fire started at night in a forested area of Mt Athos, referred to in Greek as the “Holy Mountain.”

June 4th – Mount Hymettus, Athens suburb of Ano Glyfada

June 4 fire in southern suburbs of Ano Glyfada. Credit: AMNA

Strong winds have fueled the recent fires, and an afternoon blaze at the foothills of Mount Hymettus was no different. In that fire in the southern suburb of Ano Glyfada, officials evacuated residents of several areas in the neighboring Ano Voula and Vari. Wind gusts that reached 8 Beaufort propelled the fire, Yiannis Artopoios, a fire department spokesperson said.


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