Greek fire fighting airplane dropping water on fire outside northern port city of Thessaloniki, a photo by Teacher Dude's BBQ on Flickr.
Traditionally, August has always proved to the most dangerous month in Greece for forest fires. High temperatures, strong winds and difficult terrein have always proved a lethal combination for the nation's wooded areas.
This time it is the turn of the northern port of Thessaloniki to be the latest victim of forest fires which broke out this afternoon in the Seix Sou district, close to the city's zoo. The fire which is still raging burnt woods around several residential areas but so far there have been no reports of either burnt homes or casualties.
According to latest official reports the fire which is being fought on three different fronts is under partial control with several fire fighting aircraft taking part in the operation.
The Seix Sou areas was devastated in 1997 when a similar fire destroyed much of the pine woods surrouding Greece's second city.
For The political background to Greece's forest fire crisis
"Interagency coordination obstacles and a weakened forestry service continue to threaten Greece's ability to adequately protect its forests, wild lands, and meet climate change targets. Greece recently agreed to associate with the Copenhagen Accord through the EU (ref A), but by not addressing its growing wildfire problem, it leaves a significant gap in its climate change priorities.
Post has engaged many forest policy officials, pressing for a forest protection policy based on prevention rather than focusing on reactive measures. Greek officials have been thankful for U.S. support, primarily U.S. Forest Service (USFS) training through a $2.1 million USAID package that is set to run out in 2010. In recent meetings, Greek officials have been somewhat responsive to Post's engagement, stating their hope to establish legal forest boundaries and ramp up public prevention campaigns.
As the wildfire season approaches, Post continues to encourage responsible policy from the Government of Greece (GoG) to protect the country's natural environment, as part of the global effort to combat climate change."