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Deadly forest fires in Attica
Region, Greece July 2018
Dr Dimitrios Gkotzos
Environmental Humanities Training School 2018 on
"Loss, Damage and Mobility in the context of Climate Change"
12-14 December 2018 Naples, Italy
July 23rd 2018, fires in the west and east of
• Fires were fanned by gale-force winds
• 99 people were confirmed dead in the east coast fires
(burned or drowned in the sea)
• Deadliest wildfire in Europe since 1900
Combination of several factors
• Areas filled with houses, built without planning, with inadequate roads
• Houses under highly flammable pine trees, without escape routes
• Pressure from the business community in Greece to accelerate the process of "un-declaring" forest land as
• Extreme weather conditions, and in particular a combination of extreme heat and heavy local winds
• Many firefighting forces were distracted to the fire in the west coast that had been started earlier.
• Not enough importance given on civil protection and preparation
• Police set diversions that sent drivers directly to the path of the fire
• Policy response severely affected by EC austerity measures (e.g. 30% of
fire engines useless, 25% of Greece’s GDP has been lost = 25% less
money for civil protection)
Τhe role of climate change
Although it is not yet possible to
attribute a single catastrophic
event, like the wildfires, to climate
change, we can attribute the
increased risk of these kinds of
adapting to the risk
Land use planning
emergency plans in
case of extreme
weather eventsWhat should we do?