By: T.M. Giannaros, K. Lagouvardos, V. Kotroni
Wildfires are a very common hazard in Greece, particularly during the summer season. According to the official records of the Hellenic Fire Corps, a total of 201,940 fire events took place in Greece over the past 20 years (2000 – 2019), burning a total area of 865,742 ha. More than half of these events (115,433, 57% of total) can be categorised as wildfires, having burnt areas characterised as forests, woodlands, groves, grasslands, and swamps. Wildfire events account for 92% (789,019 ha) of the nationwide 2000 – 2019 total burnt area. The remaining 76,723 ha of burnt area (total for the 2000 – 2019 period) are attributed to “other” fire events (i.e., agricultural fires, fires in dump sites).
What is interesting is that the vast majority of wildfire events (99%, 114,346 wildfires) are smaller than 50 ha, accounting for a minor 18% (142,384 ha) of the 2000 – 2019 nationwide total burnt area. The remaining 1% of wildfires (1,087 events) are responsible for 82% (646,635 ha) of the 2000 – 2019 nationwide total burnt area. These large wildfires occur primarily from June through October (1,022 events, 632,548 total burnt area).