Forest fires: Greece raises its level of fire vigilance

Forest fire vigilance was raised on Sunday April 7 “to level 4, high risk” in certain regions in Greece after numerous fire outbreaks declared the day before, according to the Greek government

Forest fires: Greece raises its level of fire vigilance

Forest fire vigilance was raised on Sunday April 7 “to level 4, high risk” in certain regions in Greece after numerous fire outbreaks declared the day before, according to the Greek government.

In total, “71 fires in agricultural and forestry regions across the country broke out in twelve hours, between 3 a.m. and 3 p.m. GMT [between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m., Paris time]” on Saturday, said the Ministry of the climate crisis and civil protection in a press release.

The majority of these fires were brought under control, especially in the center of the country, with the exception of that in Lasithi on the island of Crete which continued on Sunday but "without there being an active front", according to the firefighters. Three people were slightly injured in the fire, they said.

According to weather forecasts, strong winds of 60 km/h will blow until Tuesday in the northern Aegean Sea, Attica and the Athens metropolitan area, the Cyclades, Crete and central Greece, "which makes the situation extremely dangerous for the outbreak of fires,” the climate crisis ministry warned.

For these areas, “all civil protection forces will be placed at level 4 (high fire risk)”, “firefighters will be on alert and members of the armed forces will carry out patrols”, adds the ministry.

Greece recorded "a record average temperature of 11.8°C" during the winter of 2023-2024, described as "the hottest ever recorded in the country", according to the Athens Observatory which recently warned of “a worrying level of drought.”

Since the beginning of April, temperatures have been particularly high for the season, with 31°C in Chania in Crete. Greece experienced one of its longest heatwaves last summer, marked by devastating fires which left twenty dead and spread over 175,000 hectares.