Major European forest fires

Major European forest fires

26 August 2007

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Fire brigades, battling forest blazes across Greece, on Sunday began evacuating villages near ancient
Olympia, site of the first Olympic games.

Here are details on some recent major European forest fires.

Aug 2005 — PORTUGAL – The biggest of five fires stretched more than 21 km (13 miles) near Mirando do Corvo, a mountain town north of the capital Lisbon. Police said in late August they arrested 127 people suspected of starting forest fires.

— In October, the League of Portuguese Fire Fighters said fires destroyed 750,000 acres of forests and at least 18 people died in the second worst year since records began in 1980.

Aug 2005 — SPAIN – In Galicia, northwest Spain, firefighters battled blazes that destroyed 45,000 acres of forest.

Aug 2006 — PORTUGAL – On Aug. 10, 564 fires raged in the country – the fire service said it was the highest number of fires in a single day since 2003. At least seven people were killed.

Aug 2006 — SPAIN – In early August, firefighters battled 122 blazes in one of Spain’s most heavily wooded regions. Fires had burnt down more than 10,000 hectares and killed three people in six days. Police said almost half the fires were intentional and arrested six suspected arsonists.

— The European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) said a total of 3,585 sq km (1,384 sq miles) were burned in southern Europe in the whole of 2006.

July 2007 — BULGARIA – Bulgaria asks NATO, the EU and Russia to send aircraft to fight hundreds of wildfires.

August 2007 — During the month, the EU said it was helping Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Macedonia fight fires. – GREECE – Greece declared a nationwide state of emergency on Aug. 25 after the worst forest fires in decades killed at least 47 people and trapped many more in villages.

— About 9,000 firefighters, helped by 500 soldiers, 1,800 fire engines, planes and helicopters have been engaged in fighting the fires.

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