The beguilling scents of Chios has been burned down. Thousands of aromatic mastic trees have been destroyed by the wild fires that broke on the island of eastern Aegean Sea four days ago. Firefighters, soldiers, volunteers, water-dropping planes and helicopters could not prevent the flames extinguishing the island’s main economy source due to strong winds.
Two fire fronts in the central and south parts of Chios left behind thousands of burned mastic and olive trees, destroyed forests and cultivated land in the most fruitful part of the island.
More than 12,000 hectares burned down.
The fires have been burning for four days, even though volunteer firefighters have been transferred to Chios from other parts of Greece.
Mastic Tress – Chios August 2011
No human has suffered any damage, no village, many of them from the medieval times, has been destroyed.
Central Chios August 2011
But the wild fires that broke in the early morning hours of Sunday wiped out the biggest part of Chios economy.
Chios is famous for its mastic, a gum-like resin with a unique flavour produced only by trees on central and south parts of the island. And thus in no other part of Greece or hardly around the globe. Mastic is used mainly in confectionery and cosmetics, while in recent years Mastic Liqueur was introduced worldwide.
Secret Service to investigate wildfires
However Chios is not the only place or island that suffered from wildfires during the recent days. The islands of Zakynthos and Andros, many areas in peloponnese. According to Minister for Citizen Protection, Nikos Dendias, more than 20 big blazes started over the weekend across the country.
An unusual large number of wildfires that needs further investigation.
Nikos Dendias said that in many cases authorities and fire-brigades have “indications that the fires were lit intentionally.”
“We face an incredibly large number of fires,” said Dendias, adding that 589 wildfires have begun in the past 10 days alone, with 16 of them starting Tuesday morning.
Greek “secret service EYP will join investigations into the wildfires to see if arson has been involved,”, Dendias announced on Tuesday.an unusually large number of wildfires across the country to see if arson has been involved, an official said Tuesday.
Forest fires are common during Greece’s long hot summers, but the country has seen hundreds of blazes in recent weeks following a heat wave and strong winds that make fire extinction difficult..
PS Last year I visited Chios: The island of Beguilling Scents. What a pity to hear its natural scents and beauties have been burned down.