Mild summer results in fewer fires this year, figures show

A relatively mild summer this year resulted in 25 percent fewer wildfires than in 2013, according to new fire service figures seen by Kathimerini.

A total of 3,846 fires broke out on agricultural and forest land between January 1 and July 31 of this year compared to 5,066 in the same period last year, official figures show.

In comments to Kathimerini, a senior fire service official attributed the reduction in fires to more clement weather conditions, noting that this summer has been significantly milder than last. “Humidity levels are higher, wind intensity is lower, and we have not had constant and drawn-out heat waves this year,” he said.

In an indication of how mild this year has been, officials drew attention to the fact that it was only last Sunday that the country’s fire service was put on general alert – known as “danger level 4” – while last year, firefighters had been put on standby early in the summer.

Sunday was the busiest day so far this year for Greek firefighters with a total of 79 blazes breaking out across the country on that one day and 130 over the whole weekend.

Overall, this summer has seen an average of 40 to 45 wildfires per day, according to fire service estimates. The biggest so far was a blaze that broke out in Keratea, southeastern Attica, on July 12, burning some 600 hectares of forestland and damaging a handful of homes though no injuries were reported. Another large fire broke out in the area of Malesina, in the central prefecture of Fthiotida, on June 26 and burned for three days due to high winds and dry conditions.