Around 20,000 people have fled their homes on the Greek island of Rhodes, where wildfires continue to burn out of control. Fires are also burning on the islands of Corfu and Evia, with nearly 2,500 people evacuated from Corfu. Greece has been sweltering under a lengthy spell of extreme heat, with daily temperatures well above 40 degrees. Firefighters are working to build fire breaks to cut off the fuel that makes wildfires spread. The fires are coming from the hills behind the village of Massari, which was evacuated yesterday.
The fires are a consequence of the heat, and the heat is causing the fires to spread. Professor Craig Clements, director of the Wildfire interdisciplinary Research Center at San Jose State University, is currently in Greece sharing research and collaborating with fire experts. He is providing observational tools and upper air radius on systems to better fire weather observations, allowing them to better forecast and predict fire risk for Greece.
The extreme fires in Greece are man-made, with most fires being human-caused. Wildfires are man-made because summers are hot or warm, depending on where you are. Most fires are human-caused, with the exception of lightning fires in Canada and the Western US. In Algeria, wildfires have killed over 30 people, 10 of them soldiers, during a continuing severe heat wave. Over 7,000 people have been evacuated, and Algeria’s meteorological office warns that northern areas are likely to see extreme heat until the end of the month.