More than 100,000 hectares was reduced to ashes in two weeks in Greece, a record number since the deadly wildfires of 2007, according to data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), which was updated on Thursday.
More specifically, from July 29 to August 12, 100,874 hectares burnt, according to calculations by the European Union’s Earth observation program Copernicus based on EFFIS data.
The average number of hectares burnt during the same period in the years from 2008 to 2020 was 2,750.
“[The fires] are still very destructive today everywhere, and have a rare high level of intensity,” said Mark Parrington, a senior scientist with Copernicus, in comments to Agence France-Presse.
By Thursday, nearly 114,300 hectares had been burnt since the beginning of 2021, with more than 90% of that figure razed in the last two weeks, compared to an average of 96,000 hectares for the period from 2008 to 2020, according to the latest EFFIS data.
Evia was the hardest-hit area, accounting for more than half of the burned areas.
“Our data show that we hadn’t had such intense fires since August 2007,” said Parrington.
More than 250,000 hectares of forestland and olive groves were burned in fires in August 2007 that killed 77 people.
Processing high-resolution images from the Sentinel-2 satellite,the National Observatory of Athens’ BEYOND Center for Earth Observation Research and Satellite Remote Sensing calculated that the area burnt in northern Evia is estimated at approximately 46,582 hectares.