Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Wildfires: environmental and social entanglements
Wildfires: environmental and social entanglements

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

2.1 The burned areas

Figure 4 illustrates the areas of Greece affected during the height of the wildfires in August and September 2007. The fires mainly affected western and southern Peloponnese as well as southern Euboea. Extensive fire fronts were created when fires merged, advanced into villages, and could only be put out after several days (Karamichas, 2007, p. 528).

Described image
Figure 4: Areas affected at the height of the Greece fires 2007 (Aug 23 – Sept 5, 2007)

The worst affected area of Greece was the regional unit of Ilia (also known as Elis), situated on the Peloponnese Peninsula. Nearly 40% of forest land in the area was burnt and 44 people were killed (Karanikola et al., 2013).

The fires in Ilia generated particular concern. Not only because of their extent and the deaths and devastation they caused, but also because they threatened the archaeological site of ancient Olympia. Olympia is globally renowned as the birthplace of the Olympic Games and it is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site (Bassi & Kettunen, 2008). In the end, the 2007 fires burned right around the edges of the site. None of the ancient ruins were burnt. However, the surrounding landscape and even the culturally significant Kronios Hill, which forms part of the site, were severely affected. The two images below show some of the damage that was done to Kronios and the surrounding hills.

Described image
Figure 5: Kronios Hill, Olympia, taken two days after it burned on 26 August 2007 (Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems)
Described image
Figure 6: Hills around the Olympia site in the wake of the 2007 fires, showing log dams that were quickly installed to prevent soil erosion after the burning caused a severe loss of vegetation cover (Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems)

In the next section you will begin to consider why these wildfires happened.