More than 600 firefighters continue to fight the massive wildfires that ravaged the Greek island of Evia, which houses buildings and pine forests and forced thousands to evacuate.
The fires covering the country’s second largest island have been blazing, uncontrollable, for seven days in a row, resulting in the deaths of a volunteer firefighter and an Athens official.
The United States and several European and Middle Eastern countries sent firefighters and firefighting aircraft and helicopters to Greece. According to the Navy Times, over the weekend, the US Navy provided a reconnaissance aircraft from an airbase in Sicily.
The European Union sent about 1,000 firefighters and nine aircraft. It is also sending resources to other countries affected by the fire, including Turkey and Italy.
“We are mobilizing one of Europe’s largest common firefighting operations as multiple fires affect multiple countries at once,” the EU’s commissioner for crisis management, Jeannez Lenaric, said in a statement on Sunday.
The result of a record heat wave that ripped through the country, wildfires have also affected Turkey, Italy, Spain, North Macedonia, Albania and Lebanon.
Arson behind more than half of Italy’s wildfires, officials say
About 800 wildfires have hit Italy this year, tripling the normal annual average and causing millions of dollars in damage
In Greece, temperatures reached 45 C (113 F), in what Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the worst heat wave in three decades.
Mitsotakis expressed his appreciation in a Twitter statement on Sunday, addressing the 22 countries that sent aid to Greece.
“On behalf of the Greek people, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all countries that have sent aid and resources to help fight the wildfires. We thank you for standing with Greece during these difficult times. are,” Mitsotakis said.
The United Nations released a new climate report on Monday as fires rage in Greece, warning of a worsening of global warming in the coming years.
The report predicts that the average global temperature will increase by 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) compared to pre-industrial temperatures.
Many scientists believe that if temperatures exceed the 1.5-degree threshold, many of the effects of climate change could be irreversibly worsened, leading to more intense heat waves, higher sea levels and larger storms. Huh.
For example, the report predicted that the frequency of extreme heat waves would increase from once every 50 years to once every decade.
While some climate change may be permanent, the report’s authors called for increased action to address greenhouse gas emissions, which are believed to be a major factor in human-driven climate change.
In the 2015 Paris climate agreement, nearly 200 countries agreed to limit temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but individual progress on the target varies.
US President Joe Biden recently promised to cut emissions in half by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. EU leaders similarly released an aggressive emissions reduction plan that they hope to make legally binding, a move the US has not taken.
Some information in this report has been obtained from The Associated Press.