Massive EU Forest Fire: Unprecedented in Recorded History

Hundreds of firefighters were battling the flames on Sunday, particularly in northeastern Greece where deadly fires are raging for the ninth consecutive day.

It is “the most important fire that the European Union has had to face”, declares the European Commissioner in charge of crisis management, Janez Lenarčič. The fires in Greece have destroyed 77,000 hectares of land, according to the European weather and climate service Copernicus.

In total, more than 600 firefighters from all over Europe are mobilized in Greece to put out the fires, or at least control them.

The flames continue to devastate in particular the northern region of Evros where the fire is the most important, near the port city of Alexandroupoli and the Turkish border.

The fire started last Saturday and 19 suspected migrants, including two children, were found dead this week in the area.

Residents of the areas of Lefkimmi, in Evros, and Kassitera, in the neighboring Rhodopes region, were ordered to evacuate their homes on Sunday by a message from Civil Protection.

The deputy regional governor of Evros, Dimitris Petrovic, spoke on the public channel ERT of a “very difficult situation” which caused incalculable destruction.

“We have launched a new call for the reinforcement of means”, he added. “Because from Monday, the winds are changing, the threat is increasing and we don’t know how and if we will be able to stop the advance of the front of the fire”

The fire is ravaging in particular the protected forest of Dadia, a national park which is an important habitat or wintering area for birds of prey.

In northern Athens, a fire continues to destroy vegetation on Mount Parnes, one of the green lungs of the Greek capital.

On the island of Andros, in the Cyclades archipelago, firefighters have also been fighting since Saturday after a fire started, no doubt caused by lightning, according to firefighters.

During his Sunday Angelus prayer in public, Pope Francis expressed “his solidarity with the Greek people”.

In 2023, the fires, which the government blames on climate change, burned more than 120,000 hectares in the country, according to estimates by the National Observatory – three times the annual average since 2006, for its part noted the Observatory. forest fires in Europe.

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