Greece 2023: 20% fewer large forest fires and 270% increase in burnt areas the meteo service of the National Observatory in Athens said in a report updated on August 30, 2023.
Statistics (Figures 1 – 3) for the progress of this year’s (2023) fire prevention season in Greece remain negative, as they result from the analysis of the data of the European Forest Fire Information System (https://effis.jrc.ec .europa.eu) processed by the FLAME Pyrometeorological Team of the METEO unit of the National Observatory of Athens (EAA).
🔥The cumulative burned area in Greece, from the beginning of the year until Wednesday 30.08.2023, records an increase of +270% compared to the average area (2002 – 2022) burned annually in our country.
🔥Recording 1,610,080 hectares of burned land until Wednesday 30.08.2023, Greece ranks first among 20 Mediterranean countries. Spain comes second with 843,150 acres and Italy third with 630,610 acres. France (+68%) and Morocco (+43%) also recorded an increase in burned areas, while a decrease was recorded in the rest of the countries.
🔥The cumulative number of large forest fires (>300 acres) in Greece, from the beginning of the year until Wednesday 30.08.2023, records a decrease of -20% compared to the number of large forest fires that on average (2002 – 2022) ) occur in our country on an annual scale. An increase in the number of forest fires is recorded in Spain (+80%), France (+198%), Morocco (+94%), Cyprus (+2%), Libya (+3%) and Slovenia (+14%).
🔥Recording 45 large forest fires (>300 acres) by Wednesday 30.08.2023, Greece ranks seventh among 20 Mediterranean countries. In first place is Spain with 344 forest fires during 2023.
🔥The average burned area per large forest fire in Greece, from the beginning of the year until Wednesday 30.08.2023, shows an increase of +365% compared to the corresponding average of the period 2002 – 2022.
🔥Recording, on average, 35,780 acres per forest fire until Wednesday 30.08.2023, Greece ranks first among 20 Mediterranean countries, by a huge margin. Algeria comes second with an average of 9,280 hectares per forest fire and Syria comes third with an average of 6,052 hectares per forest fire. Increases are also recorded in Italy (+20%), with the rest of the countries showing a decrease in average hectares per forest fire.
Figure 1. Total burnt area in Mediterranean countries by Wednesday 30 August 2023.
Figure 2. Total burnt area in Mediterranean countries by Wednesday 30 August 2023.
Figure 3. Average burnt area per major forest fire in Mediterranean countries by Wednesday 30 August 2023.
This evidence demonstrates that an immediate, drastic shift towards integrated forest fire management and response solutions is required.
In this direction, the METEO/EAA unit can contribute with tools and services such as: (1) the extensive and denser network of automatic weather stations in Greece, (2) the advanced rapid response forecast system IRIS 2.0, and ( 3) the high resolution meteorological and pyrometeorological forecasts. (source: meteo.gr)
PS Worth noting that the conservative Mitsotakis’s government is furious about scientific and satellite data via Copernicus/meteo etc regarding the wildfires and keeps trying to undermine the publications as they prove that the official narrative is wrong.
It is indicative that ND MP Stelios Petsas, ex gov’t spokesman and current alternate interior minister , told media: “I see a politicization of the National Observatory of Athens, something I don’t like at all.” He added that this is not new but he noticed it already in winter, with the snowfalls and the floods.
Of, course, if the scientists of the Observatory would follow gov’t guidelines in their reports and statistics, this would not be “politicization” but “new-democratization”…