In 2015, I wrote about the summer fires in Greece (here). Sadly, this is a recurring theme, which I could post about every year. Forest fires can occur everywhere when it’s dry and windy. And pine trees, which comprise most of the bits of forest around Athens, burn with more intensity than other woods because they’re resinous.
I’ve already experienced two very bad fires in previous years, when both times our garden was burnt and the house barely saved. However, this one is the worst by far. Since yesterday the situation has been catastrophic. Not only much of the remaining vegetation has been destroyed and scores of houses damaged, but, even more tragically, there have been a large number of casualties. Many people were trapped on the beaches and had to be rescued by sea. Others were trapped in their cars, some died when the taverna they were eating in burned to the ground.
Can these fires be prevented, or controlled faster? A very strong wind was blowing, spreading the flames at a terrifying rate. The usual blame game is going on, but in California and Australia, where the equipment must be superior, they seem to face the same sort of problems.
Meanwhile, superhuman efforts are being made by firefighters and volunteers on the ground, along with the heroic pilots who skim the waves to fill up their tanks and then fly through the smoke to drop the water on their chosen target.
It’s going to be a long, difficult summer.
Photos from Google