GFMC: Forest Fire Situation Analysis for Greece, 17 July 2000

Forest Fire Situation in Greece

17 July 2000

Greece Fires from Space seen by the NOAA AVHRR

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A number of heat signatures (e.g. those that can be detected at 4 km resolution) are visible from
larger fires burning in central Greece. Smoke from one of the large fires in southern Greece
extends southeastward to the vicinity of the coasts of Egypt and Israel. This is the “same” plume
that extended northeastward into Turkey near the Sea of Marmara in an image on 13 July 2000.

Update: Sunday, 16 July 2000, 12:15 local time (09:30 UTC)

The forest fire situation in Greece has been improving steadily since Friday. After the passage of a dry cold front on Thursday, which started 184 difficult to control fires within one day, the firefighting forces started getting the situation back into control.

Approximately 30 fires escaped initial attack on Thursday. Less than 15 were burning out of control by Thursday evening. By Saturday morning only four of the large fires were still active: northern coast of Peloponnese, Pelion peninsula in central Greece, Thassos island in Northern Greece, and Pindos mountain near Konitsa in northwestern Greece. Eighty-four other fires that started on Friday were all controlled immediately.

The Greek government urgently contracted six additional CAMOV helicopters in support of its already strong but stressed other aerial and ground firefighting forces. The Israeli government also sent two Sikhorsky helicopters. Additional help offered by other nations was not accepted as it became evident that the situation was getting under control.

Starting Saturday, it started raining in Western and Northern Greece, bringing much needed relief to the firefighting forces. Although only the fire on Pindos mountain received rain, the overall situation became easier as air relative humidity increased significantly.

Unfortunately, early on Saturday morning, one of the Canadair CL-215 planes fighting the fire on Pelion peninsula, crashed on the slope of a hill after releasing its load on flames burning tall shrub vegetation. Witnesses stated that one of the wings hit a tall pine tree, which protruded from the shrub vegetation. The two pilots were killed on the spot.

Fire danger is forecasted as low to medium over most of the country for today and tomorrow. As the last three fires are now practically under control, it is hoped that the firefighting forces will have the opportunity to mop-up and guard them effectively, and also to rest and reorganize before the next increase in fire danger.

Dr. Gavriil Xanthopoulos
Forester – Forest Fire Specialist
GFMC Correspondent, Athens, Greece


Retrospective: International Response on Friday, 14 July 2000

On 14 July 2000 the GFMC posted the following message at 14:45 GMT:

The call of the Greek government for international assistance in fighting the forest fires in the country three countries so far have offered support. The Czech Republic, Israel and Germany will immediately dispatch firefighters.

The German contribution will consist of a group a specialized fire fighting vehicles and other equipment which will be rushed to Athens by an AN-124 transport plane. The plane will leave Hahn Airport (Germany) at 21:00 local time and land in Athens. The on-site coordinator of the group will arrive in Greece tonight.

The German fire brigades will be dispatched to Peloponnes Peninsula.

Communication Channels:
The cell phone number of the on-site German coordinator Mr. Richard van Hazebrouck is: ++49-172-9109011
A Greek liaison to the German on-site coordinator is Mr. Georgios Radoglou. His cell phone is: ++30-944-512-634

The GFMC is ready to assist further international coordination and can be reached via

Tel. ++49-761-808011

At 14:55 GMT the following message was given to the German agencies involved:

Dear colleagues,
the GFMC update concerning the German fire-fighting aid was removed from the GFMC website because the operation was cancelled some minutes ago.

Head, GFMC

For short-to long term fire-weather forecasts for southern Europe see the Experimental Climate Prediction Center (ECPC) web site.

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Europe fire-weather forecast for tomorrow, Tuesday 18 July 2000

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Europe fire-weather forecast (weekly) for the time period 15-23 July 2000
(Source: ECPC)

The last national fire report from Greece (1999) was published in IFFN April 2000 issue.

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