In 2007 Greece experienced the worst year on record for forest
fires. Extremely hot and dry weather conditions in Greece,
combined with strong winds led to a disastrous upsurge of
forest fires and wildfires. This year Greece requested assistance
4 times through the MIC to face during the months of June,
July and August. The total burnt area in 2007 amounts to 268
834 hectares, of which 180 000 burnt between the 24 and 30
The first request for assistance to the Monitoring and Information
Centre came on the 27 June 2007. By then, there were already
some 120 fires in the country, the most affected areas being
the Regions of Thessaly, Sterea, Attica and the Peloponnesus.
By 2 July 2007 the forest fires were brought under control
and the request for assistance was closed.
Later fires affected the environs of Parnitha and Pilion
Mountains, prompting a second request for assistance on 5
July. These fires had been totally extinguished by 7 July.
The MIC received the third request for assistance from Greece
on 18 July 2007 with fires burning away in Korinthos, Patras
and Mani (in the Peleoponesus) as well as Kithira Island and
Kefalonia Island. On 1 August 2007, Greece informed the MIC
that no further European assistance is required and closed
the emergency. The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC)
reported that the total burned area mapped in Greece until
the 31 July 2007 was 80 970 hectares. From this area 11 753
hectares were on NATURA 2000 sites.
However, Greece had yet to come through its fourth request
for assistance, which was the most dramatic one to date in
terms of loss of human lives and damage. Greece requested
assistance on 24 August 2007, when more than a 100 forest
fires. Weather conditions fanned the fires to a reported maximum
of 124. Some 64 people died, including 6 seasonal fire-fighters.
The fires affected large areas of Greece, ranging from the
island of Evia north of Athens to the Peloponnese in the south.
Greece also declared a state of emergency.
Assistance provided to Greece
27 June emergency – Greece requested 4 Canadairs (water-bombing
aircraft) and 3 heavy-duty helicopters. That request triggered
a response from Italy, France, Portugal and Spain. These countries
made a total of seven fire-fighting aircraft available to
5 July emergency – Due to an unforeseen reactivation
of the forest fires, Greece launched a fresh request for assistance.
The Mechanism's intervention resulted in two Italian aircraft
being made available to help bring the fires under control.
The following day the strong winds fuelling the fires dropped
and fire-fighters were able to prevent the fires from spreading.
Therefore the Greek authorities considered that no further
assistance was needed and the request was withdrawn. This
short MIC operation ended on 7 July2007 after the fires had
been totally extinguished.
18 July emergency – Greece has requested fire fighting
airplanes again, due to reactivation of the forest fires.
Many fires hit the country on that day: Korinthos, Patras
and Mani (in the Peloponnesus), but also Kithira Island and
Kefalonia Island were affected. This operation in Greece was
particularly extensive and a substantial manifestation European
civil protection solidarity, which involved a total of 11
Canadairs made available by France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
These fires took their ultimate toll when one Greek Canadair
crashed killing the pilot. The European Commission expressed
its condolences to Greece.
24 August emergency – TheGreek authorities
initially requested 8 fire-fighting aircraft, however as a
result of worsening conditions this request was increased.
Despite that European countries were fighting their own domestic
forest fires; assistance was being deployed to Greece a few
hours after the request form assistance was made. This was
the largest operation for the Mechanism to date in an EU Member
State. A total of 10 Canadairs, 3 Pilatus planes and 12 helicopters
were deployed to Greece through the Mechanism. Additionally
more than 400 specialists where on site, including aircraft
crew, fire-fighters, logisticians, and others.
The following table lists the assistance obtained by Greece.
The map below indicates where this assistance was deployed.
Assistance through the Community Civil Protection Mechanism
France (4 Canadairs and 62 forest fire-fighters)
Italy (1 Canadair)
Spain (4 Canadairs)
Portugal (1 Canadair and 2 experts)
Norway (1 helicopter)
Germany (3 helicopters)
Austria (2 helicopters and 3 Pilatus planes)
Sweden (1 AB-205 & 2 experts)
The Netherlands (3 helicopters)
Romania (1 helicopter)
Cyprus (6 fire-engines and 137 forest fire-fighters)
Slovenia (1 helicopter)
Further assistance was also offered by the Czech Republic,
Finland, Germany, Poland, Romania and Sweden.