The calamity has been described as a megafire, Source: Depositphotos

Greece is fighting the largest fire in EU history

Greece is fighting the largest fire in EU history

It’s also been the deadliest one this year

The wildfire that has been raging in Northern Greece for 12 days now has spread so much that is now considered the largest in the recorded history of the European Union. The blaze which has engulfed forests and forced the evacuation of villages in the Thrace region has already covered a territory of more than 800 square kilometres. That’s larger than the entire territory of New York City.

When a fire gets so extensive it is described as a megafire. The official recording of fires by the European Union began in 2000 with the establishment of the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).

The formal term for this type of calamity is ‘megafire’

Paradoxically, this fire, which has devastated the Dadia National Park in the northeast of Greece, has gotten less attention than earlier fires this summer, such as the ones in the islands of Rhodes, Corfu, Sicily and Tenerife.

And that’s worrisome because the current fire has also been the deadliest this year, causing the demise of 20 people, 18 of whom were migrants hiding in the forest. The area of the fire is near the borders with Bulgaria and Turkey and thus forms part of one of the migrant trafficking routes.

That part of Greece, however, is also far from the country’s major tourist hotspots, which does a lot to explain why this fire, despite its impact, has gone largely under the media radar. It also underscores a troublesome trend that demonstrates a hierarchization of natural disasters according to the areas they affect and how important they are for tourism.

Aircraft and hundreds of firefighters on the ground, including such from Albania, Serbia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, are still battling the flames. 30% of the Dadia National Park has been lost.



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