Facing the Flames: Wildfires Ravage Greece and Europe – A Comprehensive Guide on Fire Safety and Preparedness

In recent years the number of forest fires has significantly increased, especially in the summer season; scientists say it is a result of climate change caused by human activity.

Nearly 660,000 hectares (1,630,000 acres) of land have been ravaged by the blazes between January 1 and August 13 2022, figures from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed. 

That’s 56% higher than the previous record set over the same period in 2017, when 420,913 hectares burned. Raging fires rage from all corners of the world. The countries most involved during 2022 are Italy, Greece, Cyprus, the United States and Canada. In Greece, after the huge peak of fires in 2021, which burnt a huge part of Evia island, This year Greece is facing fires both on islands and its mainland (Rhodes, Corfu, Athens, Lamia, Volos among others). For years now, the population has had to face emergency situations, further aggravated by high temperatures, drought and winds. Thousands of hectares of land go up in smoke every year, the numbers of displaced people grow every time, as well as those of animals that have not managed to escape from the flames.

Zoom earth link(live fires situation):


The situation gets worse every year. Can we do something to counter the destruction of our planet? The answer is yes.

First of all we should know something about fire, which spreads more and more and more frequently.

What is a forest fire

All Greek regions are affected by forest fires, albeit with different severity and at different times of the year. The environmental and climatic conditions of the peninsula favor the development of outbreaks mainly in summer. A forest fire is a fire that tends to spread rapidly over areas rich in vegetation, affecting the structures and infrastructures present in these areas.


The causes of fires can be natural or human. Natural fires occur very rarely and are caused by natural and therefore unavoidable events:

  • Lightning.
  • Volcanic eruptions.
  • Self-combustion.

Man-made fires can be:

Culpable (or involuntary): they are caused by human behavior but not with the aim of voluntarily causing damage.

 The causes can be:

  • Agricultural and forestry activities.
  • Abandonment of cigarette butts and matches.
  • Recreational and tourist activities, firecrackers, waste burned in illegal landfills, poor maintenance of power lines.

Willful (voluntary): fires are started voluntarily, with the intention of causing damage to the forest and the environment.

The causes can be:

  • Profit seeking.
  • Protests and revenge (damaging a tourist area)

 In other cases, malicious behavior can be traced back to behavioral problems such as pyromania and mythomania.

Fires can sometimes be of unknown origin; during the winter season but especially during the summer season.

The predisposing factors of fires are the set of aspects that favor the ignition of a fire and the spread of fire

  • Vegetation characteristics: presence of more or less flammable and combustible species, water content.
  • Climatic conditions: the factors with the greatest influence are wind, humidity and temperature.
  • Terrain morphology: it affects fires especially with slope and exposure.


 Things to avoid to prevent forest wildfires:

  • Do not throw away cigarette butts or lit matches
  • Do not light fires in the woods. Use only the equipped areas.
  • Do not leave waste in the woods and in illegal dumps. they are 

a dangerous fuel;

  • Do not burn stubble, straw or other agricultural residues without the due safety measures.


When the fire is in progress:

  • If you see flames or even just smoke, call the emergency number of the National Fire Brigade (199).
  • Look for a safe escape route: a road or stream. Don’t stop in places where the wind blows.
  • Lie down on the ground in a place where there is no combustible vegetation so as to avoid inhaling the smoke;
  • If you have no other choice, try to cross the fire where it is less intense to go to the part already burned;
  • Don’t stop along the roads. You would slow down the rescue and communications necessary to manage the emergency.

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Post Author: Balkan Hotspot


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