Wildfire Grows on Greece’s Chios Island; State of Emergency Declared

 Wildfire Grows on Greece’s Chios Island; State of Emergency Declared

27 July 2016

published by https://weather.com

Greece —  A raging wildfire has grown so large this week on Greece’s Chios Island that authorities were forced to declare a state of emergency as a response.

The inferno, which began Monday, torched olive groves and mastic trees on the island that’s home to about 52,000 people, Reuters reported. Dozens of firefighters have been sent to battle the blaze, and firefighting aircraft have also assisted, the report added.

At least two homes have also been lost to the wildfire, the Greek Reporter also said.

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“It is very serious … authorities are doing their utmost to deal with it with land and air forces,” said Northern Aegean Prefecture governor Christiana Kalogirou in the Reuters report.

The blaze has been particularly devastating for the island’s mastic gum tree orchards, of which approximately 90 percent have been destroyed, according to the Greek Reporter. Mastic production is a huge income source for many people in southern Chios, Ekathimerini.com said.

The trees produce a unique resin that’s used to make spices, sweets and alcoholic beverages, according to Greeka.com. These trees can live to be more than 100 years old, and Chios is the only place in the world where the resin is used for production, the report added.

The inferno hit some areas that were destroyed by a 2012 wildfire that burned more than 6,000 acres of land, said a separate report by the Greek Reporter. The government is working on an aid program that will help mastic gum producers who lost their trees in the fire.

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