Wildfires raze some 50,000 hectares a year, survey finds


Wildfires destroy some 50,000 hectares of land in Greece every year, according to a study carried out by the conservation group WWF Hellas and the National Agricultural Research Foundation. The research is based on wildfires recorded between 1983 and 2008 and concludes that there was an average of 1,465 blazes annually in that period.

The fires that broke out between 1996 and 2000 wreaked the most damage, razing nearly 70,000 hectares of land annually, the study found. Meanwhile experts say more measures are needed to protect Greek forestland from the threat of wildfires.

According to Adrianos Gourbatsis, deputy commander of the Greek Fire Service, the current annual cost of forestland protection is 357,000 euros. In his view, increasing spending on forestland protection would significantly reduce the cost of damage incurred as a result of wildfires.