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Greece: Scrubland fires becoming Attica’s new nightmare

While low vegetation was once seen as a blessing as it could delay the spread of a fire, this is no longer the case, as the recent blazes in Attica and on Serifos showed.

It is now apparent in the last years that a fire in “low vegetation” presents the same, or even a greater, degree of risk than a fire in a “normal” forest. Moreover, fires in low vegetation are becoming far more frequent.

“What has changed is the climate and the relative humidity of the fuel in a forest, whether low, high or mixed vegetation,” says WWF’s Nicos Georgiadis. “The period when conditions favor the rapid spread of a fire but also its severity has widened greatly and we saw this in June where fire weather conditions were like those of late July,” he added.

Therefore, the advantages of better surveillance and management or less smoke are undermined by conditions favoring the rapid spread of a fire.