Greece wildfires: Could it be safe to go to Greece?

Greece wildfires: Could it be safe to go to Greece?

British tourists in southern Greece should continue up to now with the news headlines and follow the advice of local authorities, the Foreign Office has warned after wildfires not definately not Athens killed as much as 60.

A blaze swept through the resort town of Mati, in the Attica region, an full hour from the Greek capital, in a few of the worst fires since 2007 when dozens were killed on the southern Peloponnese peninsula. Late Monday but was still burning early Tuesday the fire broke out.

The coastal resort is favored by local tourists, including families and pensioners, and few British holidaymakers are usually affected. However, the Foreign Office (FCO) issued help with Tuesday advising anyone swept up in the fires to call the British Embassy in Athens for consular assistance.

“There were wildfires in several areas in southern Greece, including near Athens,” said the FCO. “They are confined to limited areas, but within those the impact has been high, with significant lack of life.

“You need to keep up-to-date with local media reports and follow the advice of the Greek authorities in affected areas.”

Has travel been affected?

Flights to Athens haven’t been affected. Tour operators Thomas and Tui Cook said that they had few, if any, customers in the certain area.

Rachel Howard, among Telegraph Travel’s Greece experts, said that only the port of Rafina, where ferries depart for a few of the Cyclades islands including Syros and Mykonos, would be highly relevant to British tourists. The port may be the second largest serving Athens.

“Boats will certainly not be coming or going from Rafina at this time almost,” she added. “The area is devastated.”

Evangelos Bournous, mayor of Rafina, said: “We were unlucky. The wind changed also it came at us with such force that it razed the coastal area in minutes.”

The dock area became a makeshift hospital as paramedics checked survivors if they came off coast guard vessels and private boats. The night time the operation continued through.

Abta, the association of British travel companies, said the region isn’t a destination for British UK tourists but reiterated the advice of the Foreign Office. It said: “People on christmas in your community should monitor news reports and follow any advice or instructions issued by the neighborhood authorities, their travel company or their accommodation providers.

Burnt-out cars in Mati

Credit:
Getty

“Anyone because of travel imminently to the certain specific areas affected should talk with their travel company or accommodation provider.”

The Greek tourist board have not taken care of immediately a obtain comment yet. 

The Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has declared circumstances of emergency and mobilised all emergency services in your community. He’s got asked other Europe for assistance in combatting the fires.

Several other fires have broken out over the national country, including in northeastern Greece and the southern island of Crete, stretching Greece’s firefighting capabilities. The night time also hampered firefighting efforts gale force winds that frequently changed direction and continued into.

The fire risk level for Greece on Tuesday

Do fires occur in Greece often?

The country experienced the worst year on record with regards to forest fires in 2007 when extremely hot and dry climate coupled with strong winds and resulted in a disastrous surge in forest and wildfires.

According to the European Commission report, the full total area burned amounted to 268,834 hectares, twice how big is London nearly. Of August as much as 124 fires were burning by the finish. Some 64 people died.

The Foreign Office says that Greece is susceptible to forest fires and they often occur through the summertime.

Fires on the island of Skiathos in 2007

Fires on the island of Skiathos in 2007

Credit:
Getty

“Forest fires are dangerous and unpredictable highly,” the FCO says. “Be mindful when visiting or driving through woodland areas. Make certain cigarette ends are extinguished, and don’t light barbecues.

“Causing a forest fire is treated as a criminal offence in Greece even though unintentional. In the event that you visit a forest fire, call the emergency services on 112.”

There certainly are a true amount of fires burning over the continent, in line with the EU Emergency Management Service, which includes identified fires in southern Italy, Spain and france.

The latest data set – for 2013 – implies that there have been 862 fires in Greece per year, in comparison to 19,291 in Portugal. The Iberian peninsula gets the most fires, accompanied by Italy and France.

What must i do easily get swept up in a forest fire?

The Greek Civil Protection agency has issued the following tips:

If you see fire, call the Fire Service call centre (199) and present clear information regarding:

  • the location (the precise point) of the fire
  • the direction of the fire
  • the type or sort of vegetation that’s burning.
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It warns that the fire season runs from May to, adding that the elements in Greece is “warm, dry and windy”.

It advises visitors never to litter burn, dried twigs or grass, or even to use barbecues in forests or near dry vegetation.

“Never dispose of lit cigarettes [and] avoid outdoor activities which could cause fire.”

Can I cancel my holiday?

In short, no. If a trip has been altered by the fires, in that case your tour operator will undoubtedly be obliged to supply suitable alternative arrangements or provide a refund contractually. If you need to cancel your trip out of preference simply, it really is unlikely that you will be eligible for a refund.

Contact your tour operator, accommodation or your insurer to go over your alternatives.

Is climate change causing more fires?

The European Environment Agency says that climate change projections suggest “substantial warming and increases in the real amount of droughts, heat waves and dry spells across almost all of the Mediterranean area and much more generally in southern Europe”.

“These projected changes would raise the severity and amount of the fire season, the certain area at an increased risk and the likelihood of large fires, enhancing desertification possibly,” it said.

The area burnt in the Mediterranean region increased from 1980 to 2000, but has decreased thereafter. One study shows that the region of land burnt in southern Europe by wildfires could a lot more than double this century.