Greece: On Fire

We've probably all heard it in the news by now: Greece is ablaze. Today the fires reached the ancient city of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics and home of the Olympia Museum, which houses one of Greece's greatest archaeological collections.

Athens in Flames (From flickr user alefbetac)

While the fires are still burning in the outskirts of Athens itself, this is what the Greek blogsphere had to say about this. EllasDevil wrote nothing but the headline of a prominent Greek paper, Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia.

The headline simply reads: “there are no words”.   

CaliforniaKat, an American living in Greece, published a comprehensive post about what is taking place, a lists of major fires, the events leading up to  it, and what can people do to help.

1. Don’t flick cigarettes out the car window while driving or on the ground near dried grass, paper or plants — Many forest fires are started this way2. Don’t burn garbage3. Make certain that roasting/cooking fires are controlled — Keep an eye on burning ashes, coals or kindling that can fly away or make contact with grass, brush, etc.4. Request or lodge a complaint that your municipality trim trees away from power lines or remove dried brush that pose a fire hazard5. Face mirrors away from direct sunlight6. Homes in rural and remote areas should be armed with fire extinguishers, a water reserve with hose/pump, wool blankets, ladder, rakes, brooms, boots and a first aid kit. Some people also put important documents, photos and other valuables in a fireproof safe, just in case.  

Loaded Russian helicopter (From flickr user nkdx)

Tina, of Athena, says that Global Warming and arsonists are to blame for this disaster.

The last two days I follow as all Greeks the wild fires in Greece. My feelings are pain and anger. I feel pain for the loss of human lives, for the forests, for the ecosystems that have been lost for ever. This is an unprecedented ecological disaster not only for Greece but for whole Mediterranean area.I feel angry and surprised the same time. The last few days I have heard a lot of possible causes for this disaster: arsonists seem to be the main and usual suspects. It seems that a lot of people have as main scope to destroy Greece. I don’t object the possibility that many of the fires have been initiated by arsonists.But I am surprised because I didn’t manage to find nowhere another simpler and more logical cause. CLIMATE CHANGE or global warming  

betabug reports his own first hand observations on the fires, from his house in Athens.

Forest fires are burning in the immediate surroundings of Athens again. Firefighter planes drone on over our building. We went up to the terrace and watched a couple of Canadair planes, a russian Beriev, and a helicopter. There's lots of smoke and appart from the fire on Ymittos (which we can clearly locate) there is a big yellowish cloud which we don't know if it's smoke or a normal cloud.   

Smoke from forest fires in Evia (From flickr user nkdx)


  • John

    The Truth:

    I’m a Hellene from Epirus, and I must say that this is such an embarassment to me. To see arson on such a large scale just proves to me that Hellas has become a ghetto country. Like the riots of Miami, Florida, the people in the ghetto burned their own back yard. Real bright. Now my own Countrymen do the same. The country as a whole has gone to hell and needs serious adjustments to their brilliant minds. You are screwed up people and shoul be ashamed of yourselves. Me, well I don’t live there for just this reason and I’m not all too surprised that something like this could happen. Fix your back yard. For 25 centuries you have not done a damn thing. You’re proud of our heritage but keep screwing up your future. Look at yourself now not then and look into the future. Yes we changed the world forever with our Hellenism but what are we now? Get your act together for the sake of Hellas!

    An Eiroti

  • George

    Someone wrote that New Orleans is the first big city of the world that we are losing because of climate change…Is Greece the first country? Here, in Athens, and in the Peloponnese, it certainly feels this way…

    Everyday, we get a lesson in abrupt climate change. Yesterday, it was snowing ashes, and a red sun (like the one in Munch’s “The Scream”) was glowing dimly. The winds are dying down: however, this does not make the life easier for the pilots, because there is so much land on fire that turbulence is created by the heat itself…Yesterday, there was even some moisture, but this filled the atmosphere with haze (just like in South-Eastern Asia, a few years ago), “blinding” the helicopters and the water-bombers…Please, help save the Greek forests.

    During the last 3 days, I am watching, absolutely flabbergasted, the evacuation of villages by air, and the setting-up of “environmental refugee” camps. I am wondering where the residents of 60 evacuated villages are.But it is the foolhardiness, the courage and the determination of those who refuse to evacuate that shocks me the most…

    Emergency services are overwhelmed, and there is curfew in certain areas. The institutions of a liberal, western democracy, which are supposed to create a sense of security and a framework for liberty, are straining under pressure….As always, the really scary thing is the aftermath – the ecological disaster, and the social dislocations that follow it…

  • It’s difficult to find locations of the wildfires. I’m busy to find locations with latitude/longitude to develop a Google Map. See;

  • Please see also on my blog an article on the “Truth about fires in Greece”. Also support a campaign on Pan European referendum.

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