Greece Names Names

A firefighter battles to extinguish a blaze in the village of Markati, near Athens, last week. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

One of our favorite places in the world, a country that had little to do with creating the climate crisis, is suffering disproportionately from it:

Greece plans to name heatwaves in the same way as storms

Personalising the ‘silent killer’ hot spells could raise awareness in time to avert loss of life and property, say scientists

A firefighting helicopter makes a water drop as a wildfire burns in the village of Vilia, Greece, on Wednesday. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Spurred on by this summer’s record temperatures, Greek scientists have begun discussing the need to name and rank heatwaves, better known for their invisibility, before rampant wildfires made the realities of the climate crisis increasingly stark.

A preventative measure, the move would enable policymakers and affected populations to be more prepared for what are being described by experts as “silent killers.” Continue reading

In The Line of Fire

A firefighter monitors the flames in Cualedro. PHOTO: Pedro Armestre

A firefighter monitors the flames in Cualedro. PHOTO: Pedro Armestre

The Mediterranean climate, particularly the prolonged dry and hot summer season, is naturally favourable to wildfires. Their frequency and impact have increased over the last few decades in southern European countries, mainly due to land-use and socio-economic changes. Many traditional rural activities (e.g. firewood collection and livestock grazing systems) have been partly or totally abandoned in favour of alternatives (e.g. fossil fuels and factory farming). These changes have led to more homogeneous landscapes and the accumulation of dry matter in forests and rangelands, resulting in a greatly increased fire hazard.

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