GFMC: Forest Fires in Greece/Corfu, 28 August 2000

Forest Fires in Greece/Corfu

28 August 2000

A state of emergency has been declared on the Greek island of Corfu after strong winds and high temperatures sparked a number of major forest fires. The fires have mainly affected the island’s central mountainous region, and a number of houses and cars are reported to have been destroyed. Seven firefighters are being treated in hospital for the effects of smoke inhalation and several villages have been evacuated. The Corfu fires are the latest in a number of forest blazes currently being fought in Greece, which authorities say, has suffered its worst fire season for decades this year. However, a spokesman for the British foreign office said that the island, a popular destination for millions of holidaymakers each year, remains safe for visitors. The Association of British Travel Agents added that as long as tourists paid attention to official warnings, they would remain safe. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Greece firefighters are currently trying to douse major blazes in three other regions. In one of the worst affected areas, seven elderly people were killed and dozens of houses destroyed when fires swept across the Albanian border into the north western province of Epirus. On Sunday, authorities said they had contained five fires, but a blaze in the Menalos mountain region 185 km south west of Athens continues to rage on unchecked. However Greece’s Public Order Minister, Michalis Chrisohoidis, warned that firefighting forces, including planes and helicopters, are already at full stretch. Gale force winds fanning the blazes dropped over the weekend, raising hopes that the fires could soon be contained. But weather experts warn that the lull could only be temporary, and gale force winds may soon return, rekindling smouldering woodland.

(Information Source: BBC News, 27 August 2000)

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

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