62 new forest fires ignite across Greece, evacuations underway in West Attica, Laconia, and Rhodes

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Over the last 24 hours, 62 new forest fires have erupted across Greece, resulting in further evacuations in several regions. The Greek Civil Protection has reported that the main fire outbreaks are located in West Attica, Laconia in the southern Peloponnese, and on the island of Rhodes.

Residents in the areas of Agia Sotira, Palaiokoundoura, Panorama and Palaiochori, Oinoi, and Erythrae in West Attica have been urged to evacuate as a result of the rapidly spreading fires. In the face of this ongoing crisis, forecasts predict high-temperature conditions across the country for the coming days, increasing the risk of additional fire outbreaks.

The National Civil Protection has reported that the risk of fires will remain very high on July 21, particularly in the regions of Attica, Boeotia, Evia, Corinthia, Argolis, Rhodes, Samos, and Ikaria.

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Image credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, Pierre Markuse
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Image credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, Pierre Markuse

To address the unfolding crisis, Greece issued a request for Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) support on July 18, which has since been updated on July 20 and 21. This call to action has been answered by eight member states. France has dispatched two Canadair firefighting planes from the European Civil Protection Pool, while Italy, Croatia, and Cyprus have contributed additional aerial support.

Further assistance has been sent in the form of over 220 firefighters and 79 vehicles from Poland, Slovakia, and Romania. Fifty firefighters and ten vehicles from Bulgaria are also en route to aid the effort. The coordination of these efforts is being supported by an ERCC Liaison Officer.

In addition to these international efforts, the Copernicus EMS Rapid Mapping (with activations EMSR672, EMSR673, EMSR674, EMSR675) has been activated to provide essential mapping data in these emergency conditions. This collective response indicates the severity of the fires in Greece, and the international community’s commitment to assist in managing this crisis.

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1 Greece wildfires – DG ECHO – July 21, 2023

Featured image credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2, Pierre Markuse

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