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Greece: On Fire

Categories: Western Europe, Greece, Breaking News, Disaster, Environment

We've probably all heard it in the news [1] by now: Greece is ablaze. Today the fires reached the ancient city of Olympia [2], the birthplace of the Olympics and home of the Olympia Museum, which houses one of Greece's greatest archaeological collections.

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Athens in Flames (From flickr user alefbetac [4])

While the fires are still burning in the outskirts of Athens itself, this is what the Greek blogsphere had to say about this. EllasDevil [5] wrote nothing but the headline [6] of a prominent Greek paper, Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia [7].

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

CaliforniaKat [8], an American living in Greece, published a comprehensive post [9] 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.  

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Loaded Russian helicopter (From flickr user nkdx [11])

Tina, of Athena [12], says that Global Warming and arsonists are to blame for this disaster [13].

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 [14] reports his own first hand observations on the fires, from his house in Athens [15].

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.   

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Smoke from forest fires in Evia (From flickr user nkdx [11])