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The fire index for Greece for Sunday July 23, 0223
24 Jul 2023

Wildfire Season 2023 update: Fires and evacuations in Greece intensify as southern European heat wave continues in 2023

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A total of 81 forest fires broke out on Monday, July 17, 2023 in Greece, of which three of them occurred within a few hours in the wider area of ​​Attica, in Neo Kouvara, Dervenochoria and Loutraki. These fires were wind-driven and two of them were inside WUI (Wildland Urban Interface).

 
 
This report was written by Zisoula Ntasiou, secretary of the CTIF Forest Fire Commission 

 

In the fire that occurred in Dervenochoria in Western Attica, the largest fire in terms of both intensity and size, which burned a very dense pine forest and which spread rapidly, we faced the greatest difficulty. This was mainly due to the lack of access for firefighting vehicles and pedestrian units as well as due to the large pyro thermal load - a very high intensity of fire.

Continuous efforts were made to deal with the ongoing active fronts, in the perimeter of the fire which reached many kilometers and in very difficult areas, with superhuman efforts from both ground and air forces.

In the fire that occurred on Tuesday, July 18 on the island of  Rhodes and is still ongoing in the central forest ecosystem of the island, strong ground forces and aerial units are operating.

It should be noted that since Monday, through the 20 messages sent by the European Emergency Number 112 and always with the cooperation of the Greek Police forces, organized evacuations of citizens have been carried out in areas involving thousands of residents.

Also, 29 citizens have been transported by ambulances, who needed help, including 3 Firefighters and 1 Policeman. In addition, 23 firefighters with breathing problems were transported to the hospital by Fire Department vehicles and 3 more firefighters suffered injuries and minor burns.

The Arson Crime Directorate has developed teams to investigate the causes of the fires.

 Copernicus graph over burned areas. The total burned area on Monday July 24 was 11.191,5 hectares. The PDF files attached above show more detail. 

Copernicus graph over burned areas in the Dervenochoria fire. The total burned area for this fire alone is currently 11.191,5 hectares.

The PDF files attached above show more details. Each pdf is for each of the 3 fires that started on Monday July 17. 

 

The Copernicus service of the European Union has already been activated for mapping the areas affected by the fires.

The Greek firefighters are supported  by teams of firefighters from Romania, Malta and Bulgaria, who participate in the Pre-Positioning program of the European Civil Protection Mechanism.

Additional forces from foreign countries provided by the European Civil Protection Mechanism are helping to extinguish the fires.

* 2 CL-415 from France.

* 2 CL-415 from Italy.

* 1 CL-415 from Croatia.

* 2 Air-Tractor from Cyprus.

* 90 firefighters and 15 vehicles from Romania.

* 31 firefighters and 15 vehicles from Slovakia.

* 149 firefighters and 49 vehicles from Poland.

* Bulgaria is also sending 50 firefighters and 10 vehicles.

In addition, following the relevant request submitted by our country at a bilateral level, the arrival of 2 Air-Tractor from Israel, 2 Air-Tractor and 1 helicopter from Turkey and 4 helicopters from Jordan is expected.

Extreme Fire Danger – A State of Alert was expected for Sunday 07-23-2023 according to the fire danger forecast index, the first for this summer.

High temperatures will unfortunately remain at very high levels next week as well.

This report was written by Zisoula Ntasiou, secretary of the CTIF Forest Fire Commission 

 

CTIF News Editorial Notes: 

CNN writes on Monday July 24th, that the evacuations performed on the island of Rhodes were the largest in Greece´s history.  Fires are also burning on the islands of Corfu and Evia, with Greek emergency services issuing evacuation orders for several parts of Corfu.

CTIF News will return with another article later this week about Rhodes, since our Greek colleagues have pointed out some errors in newspaper reports.  

BBC wrote on Sunday July 23 that "thousands of people had been evacuated" from Rhodes. Some international media reports the number of evacuated to be in the tens of thousands. 

According to the first estimates of the Police, a precautionary evacuation of approximately 19,000 people was carried out. 16,000 were transported by land and 3,000 by sea.

We will return with the correct number from the Greek press officer soon.

  

 

Fire risk index for Greece on Sunday July 23, 2023.
Fire risk index for Greece on Sunday July 23, 2023.