Recent wildfires located close to the major city of Athens have led many tourists thinking about booking their next trip to the beautiful country a bit wary. There is a lot to consider when booking your next vacation, and the safety of the location you choose is one of your top priorities, especially if you are traveling with your family. It is a good idea to stay up to date on all the news coming out of the country you want to visit, including information about any potential dangers, such as wildfires, before booking your trip.
The blaze tore through Mati, a resort town about an hour away from the capitol city. These are widely considered to be the worse fires since 2007 and have so far left at least 80 people dead and thousands more without homes. The fire began early on in the week and has been raging for at least a few days.
Mati is a coastal town, incredibly popular with national and international tourists. The nearby harbor in Rafinha gives Mati access to the Aegean Sea and is often used to reach the islands by tourists. These fires have left the area devastated, with homes, businesses, and vehicles almost burnt to the ground because of the blaze. There has even been footage of survivors of the fire being stranded on these beaches, helplessly watching the fires rage through.
Risky Stories of Escape
Several survivors have started telling their stories; letting reporters know how they escaped or how the fire has affected them personally. One woman spoke about trying to flee by car, only to realize that the blaze was faster than the traffic. She grabbed her daughter and ran to the sea, just barely making it on time. Tales like these are certainly inspiration stories, testifying to the resilience and bravery of many people. They can also be quite scary, especially if they are about an area you intend on visiting.
Do Fires Happen in Greece Often?
The last major forest fires occurred in 2007, as a result of extremely hot and dry weather conditions coupled with sudden strong winds. At that time, 124 fires destroyed nearly 269,000 hectares of land and killed over 60 people. Forest fires are prone to break out in the summer months, due to the prevalence of dry conditions. In 2013, there were over 800 separate forest fires in the area. This is relatively small compared to other countries in the region. For example, Portugal saw close to 20,000 separate fires in the same time frame.
None of this should prevent you from booking your next trip to Greece. Of course, you may want to wait until the present state of emergency has passed before booking your flight. But, ultimately, the risk of encountering a forest fire like this in Greece is relatively small, especially when you compare it with other areas in the region. If you are ever in an emergency situation, the best thing to do is to get yourself and your family to safety, and then contact your local Foreign Office or Consulate.