Greek minister breaks down while discussing wildfires
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The blaze, described by local authorities as a “hungry monster” has been raging for four days in the southern coastal province. The fire has already destroyed around 7,000 acres of the densely forested area known as the Sierra Bermeja and has left one firefighter dead.
In the wake of the deadly fire, Spain has deployed its military to join the fight against the blaze and help evacuate residents and tourists.
Around 2,500 people have fled the area, including locals, holidaying Brits and other foriegn expats in the resort town of Estepona.
More than 300 firefighters and 41 firefighting aircraft are currently attempting to contain the inferno.
An emergency brigade has also been sent from a military base in Moron, to aid in fire combat efforts.
Alejandro Garcia, deputy operational chief of Plan Infoca, the Andalusia region’s agency in charge of firefighting efforts, blamed the strength of the fire on a combination of hot and dry temperatures with strong winds earlier this week.
He added the conditions created a perfect storm which turned the fire into a “hungry monster”.
He told reporters on Sunday: “The potency and strength of this wildfire is unusual for the kind of blazes that we are used to seeing in this country.”
Thick smoke has also engulfed the rugged terrain, making it difficult for fire crews to get close enough to extinguish the blaze.
Authorities have said they are still investigating arson as a possible cause.
During the dry summer months, wildfires are common in Southern Europe, however climate scientists agree this year has been a particular cause for concern.
Following intense heatwaves this summer, the UN released a special report blaming human activity for the “unprecedented” changes to climate.
Simon Lewis, professor of global change science at University College London, told the Guardian the impacts of these fires “seem to be underestimated” and could precipitate a “new normal”.
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He said: “The observations this summer show that some impacts seem to be underestimated, but we can’t know if the devastation of summer 2021 is the new normal without a few more years’ data.”
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