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Current Affairs

Wildfires raging in Greece

Date: 12 August 2021 Tags: Disaster & Disaster Management

Issue

Large number of people have been forced to flee their homes due to intense wildfires in parts of Greece.

 

Background

Wildfires incidents are uncontrolled fires that burn natural vegetation areas such as forests, prairies and grasslands.

 

Details

  • Wildfire incidents are common during summer months in several regions of the world. There were such incidents in Australia, USA and also Russia.

  • The worrying sign however is the speed at which the fire is expanding to human habitats, forcing evacuation of people and animals.

 

Occurrence

  • Wildfires occur mainly during hot as well as dry seasons. Dry materials such as grasses and leaves get easily ignited.

  • These events can occur naturally through lightning strikes or human actions such as accidental cigarette stubs.

  • These incidents can also be common way to clear the land for agriculture or animal farms. Fires to clear a small patch of land can become wildfires.

 

Effects

  • Forest fires are one of the largest carbon emitters. They also give rise to global warming events and climate change.

  • These fires also release necessary nutrients into the soil and enhance vegetation to give rise to ecological succession and get rid of unwanted species.

 

Situation in Greece

  • The northern tip of Greece’s second largest island Evia is burning continuously. Most of the island’s northern part is destroyed since the start of fire on 3rd August.

  • Strong winds are pushing the fire towards newer regions. The forest fires have been described as one of the biggest natural disasters in the country.  The southern Peloponnese region is also experiencing them.

  • The country is facing one of the worst heat-waves in its history with temperatures soaring above 45 degrees in several parts. The pine forests have turned dry due to lack of moisture.

 

Link with climate change

  • Intense climatic conditions such as heatwaves, rains, cold waves and snowstorms are said to increase in coming decades as a result of climate change.

  • Extreme heat-waves in particular have been fuelling forest fires in continents such as Australia, America as well as Europe.