WILDFIRE NEAR ATHENS, GREECEJune 16, 2012 Walter Hays, Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction, University of North Carolina, USA
IT’S “FIRE SEASON” AGAIN IN GREECE • Every Summer, Greece faces the nightmare of destructive forest fires linked either to the inevitable heat wave or to arsonists. • In 2007, 80 people died in dozens of major wildfires across Greece
BAD TIMING • The timing of the unwanted fire coincided with Greece’s election to deal with the economic crisis.
PLANET EARTH HAS THOUSANDS OF “WILDFIRE LABORATORIES” EACH WILDFIRE PROVIDES VALUABLE LESSONS ON DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
WILDFIRESare conflagrations caused by lightning discharges (or acts of man) in wilderness areas close enough to one or more urban interfaces that they threaten people, property, infrastructure, and business enterprise.
WILDFIRE HAZARDS (AKA POTENTIAL DISASTER AGENTS) • FIRE • HOT GASES AND SMOKE • HOT SPOTS • BURNED OUT SLOPES (with increased susceptibility to insect infestation, erosion, and landslides)
WILDFIRE HAZARDS (AKA POTENTIAL DISASTER AGENTS) • SUNDOWNER WINDS • SANTA ANNA WINDS • LOCAL CHANGES IN AIR QUALITY • LOCAL CHANGES IN WEATHER
WILDFIRES CAN CAUSE HIGH-RISK SITUATIONS Any wildfire can be devastating to people, property, infrastructure, business enterprise, and the environment.
PAST WILDFIRES IN GREECE • Hundreds of other wildfires have raged throughout Greece, most recently in 2009.