Tuesday 24 July 2018

Wildfires around Athens

This morning , they found another twenty seven bodies in a field near Nea Makri, which is approximately 25 kilometres from Athens, all huddled up together, embracing. This brings the number of the dead from the fires that erupted yesterday to seventy so far.

The first thing we knew about the fires was from the drones of the firefighting helicopters above, as they flew to the sea to get water. The second thing was the cloud of smoke above that blocked the sun, creating an apocalyptic atmosphere, one we unfortunately know well, as this happens most summers and which always brings to mind The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. These fires this summer have unfortunately been much worse.  And the smell of course, which was overpowering. The cloud hovered over the whole of Athens, even though the fires were 25 kilometres and 54 kilometres away, respectively.

Were they wild fires or arson? We do not know. Arsonists do their dirty work every summer, in the knowledge that once woodland is burned it will make way for developers to build, most often illegally. This could very easily be prevented if the incompetent, inefficient and corrupt Greek state got its act together and prosecuted people who build illegally, as well as re-planting the areas that have been devastated by fire. But they do nothing. Last year they even went as far as offering those who had built illegally the option of making their illegal builds legal, in exchange for a sum of money. This is nothing short of collusion, and encourages arsonists.

There are no photographs in this blog post. I was too depressed about it all yesterday to use my camera, and I feel the same today. But, I had to somehow, express my anger and despair.


  1. We were distressed to wake to the awful news this morning. It seems that there are many fires in various countries, and in Japan many people are suffering from the unusual heat.
    I must say that so much is depressing, and a feeling of uselessness/helplessness is all pervasive.

  2. I agree, Olga. The only possible explanation for all these fires, the unusual high temperatures in the UK and in so many other countries, is global warming, and yet, nothing is being done about it. I despair....We are self-destructing, and we are also destroying the eco-system we are part of.