In the summer season, when the hot and dry summer begins in Greece, the topic of fires systematically attracts media attention. This situation repeats itself every year and one might think that the fires were, are and will be, because the geographical and climatic conditions of Greece unfortunately favor these phenomena. However, what should attract special attention to all is the growing scale of these phenomena.
We are currently at the halfway point of the fire season this year and some summary has been made on this occasion. At the National Observatory in Athens, data collected in the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) was analyzed. Only in the first period of the fire season in Greece, covering the period between May 1, 2022 and July 29, 2022, a large increase in burned areas and the number of fires in forest areas was observed. As of last Friday, 172,100 acres have been burned as a result of this year's fires, which is a whopping 50% increase compared to the average for 2006-2021 (114,054 acres). As for the number of forest fires, by 29 July there were 38 such fires, which is a result higher by as much as 73% than the average calculated for the years 2006-2021, which is 22.
This year's results are much higher than the averages of recent years, which is of particular concern. Of course, the climatic situation in Greece is conducive to fires, but it also happens, and not infrequently, that people are directly responsible for starting a fire. Others pay for their irresponsible behavior with their lives and lost property. The animals that die in the flames also pay their price.
Fire fighting in Rodakino
We would like to remind you that recently large and relentless fires took place, among others, in Crete in the Rethymno Prefecture and on the island of Lesbos. We ourselves recently had the opportunity to observe the firefighting action in the vicinity of Rodakino near Plakias and we know what emotions are then accompanied by. The awareness that the element is raging somewhere nearby and does not yield to human efforts effectively distracts from other mundane matters.
After the media reports about the fires, you often ask us about it. Do fires threaten tourist destinations, what is the current situation and do you have to cancel your vacation on the island? Crete is a large island, so in the event of a large fire, it is worth checking where it is taking place. The fact that an area is on fire means that it is the most threatening to towns located relatively nearby, not 100 or 200 km away. Of course, the situation in summer is changeable and the future cannot be predicted, but it is also not worth panicking, especially as the media sometimes bends the facts. This happened in the case of the recent fire near Rodakino. According to media reports, the nearby Plakias was supposed to be completely smoky as a result of this fire, but it was a sensation without any coverage in the facts. We know because we were in this town at that time.