Greece: Greece wildfire destroys area bigger than New York City

EVROS: A wildfire burning in northeastern Greece for 11 days has destroyed an space bigger than New York Metropolis, the European Union-backed Copernicus Local weather Change Service stated on Tuesday, as firefighters from 5 international locations battled to comprise the flames.
Fuelled by gale pressure winds and sizzling climate, the hearth that started close to the town of Alexandroupolis shortly unfold throughout the Evros area, killing at the very least 20 folks final week in Europe’s deadliest blaze this summer time. It turned lush greenery into scorched earth and destroyed houses and livelihoods.
In a put up on social media platform X, previously generally known as Twitter, the Copernicus Emergency Administration Service stated the hearth had ravaged at the very least 808.7 sq. kilometres (312.2 sq. miles). New York Metropolis takes up 778.2 sq. kilometres (300.5 sq. miles).
Copernicus stated final week the hearth was the most important on European soil in years, and authorities stated the hearth was nonetheless extremely harmful.
Plane and a whole bunch of firefighters on the bottom, together with from Albania, Serbia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, had been battling the flames, the hearth brigade stated.
“We are attempting to defend the remainder of the unaffected space earlier than the entrance line of the hearth comes,” stated Jiri Nemcik, commander of the Czech workforce. “The event of the hearth may be very dynamic so it’s extremely harmful.”
Satellite tv for pc pictures spotlight the extent of the destruction within the space the place previously lush pine bushes have been lowered to blackened, skeletal bark.
Panagiota Maragou, head of conservation on the Greece division of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), stated at the very least 30% of the Nationwide Park of Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest had been misplaced.
Due to its excessive biodiversity, the nationwide park was “one of the crucial necessary protected areas in Greece and likewise in Europe, maybe additionally on a world scale,” she stated.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis chaired a gathering on Tuesday on the fires which have ravaged Greece, concerning preventative measures amongst different points, an announcement from his workplace stated.
Environmentalists have lengthy accused Greece of spending extra funds on extinguishing fires than on prevention.
“We have seen within the case of Dadia and within the case of the Evros hearth normally … one of many largest fires in Europe, {that a} system that depends solely on suppression of fires is just not working,” Maragou stated.
Summer time wildfires are frequent in Greece however the authorities says excessive climate situations that scientists hyperlink to local weather change have made them worse this yr. Greece’s deadliest hearth on report killed 104 folks outdoors Athens in 2018.
All however one of many lifeless within the Evros hearth are believed to have been irregular migrants who crossed over from Turkey, evading police within the forest. Authorities worry extra our bodies could also be discovered when the flames are put out, as Evros is a well-liked crossing into the EU for hundreds of migrants and refugees yearly.
The fires have spurred anti-immigrant sentiment within the area, based on Greece’s Racist Violence Recording Community.
Final week, police detained three males after a video emerged on social media exhibiting migrants in a trailer pulled by a jeep, and a person heard urging civilians to “spherical up” migrants he accused of setting the fires.
On Tuesday, a prosecutor launched a preliminary investigation right into a separate incident after one other video posted on social media confirmed 4 males, believed to be migrants, sitting on a mud monitor beside a jeep, and a neighborhood man filming them, based on an official on the residents’ safety ministry.
The official stated the person, who appeared on the Alexandroupolis police headquarters, had been wished for his alleged involvement within the “forcible immobilisation” of migrants.

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