(Chios, Greece) – The Greek government has declared that the island of Chios in Greece is in a state of emergency. Currently, the wildfire on the Aegean island has yet to be tamed. Firefighters as well as special firefighting air craft were sent to the island on Monday in order to assist with the efforts to contain the blaze. The fire is burning through the vegetation on the island, including its income producing olive trees. There are also about 52,000 people living on the island who are watching the blaze closely to make sure their lives aren’t at risk. While the fire was uncontrolled as of Monday, emergency fire crews have managed to contain it.
So far, the extreme smoke has caused some people to evacuate out of two of the villages near the fire. There are also mastic trees on the island that have been harmed by the fires. Mastic is another revenue producing crop for the island because the highly prized mastic resin that is used in Greek baked goods such as Tsoureki, the sweet bread served at Easter. The trees were destroyed in the villages of Elati, Vessa, and Lithi. Pine trees near the villages of ithio, Mesta and Aghios Georgios Sykousis were also severely damaged.
Forest fires are fairly common in Greece during the height of summer. The hot sun and dry climate make the perfect conditions for fires to spread fairly quickly. Depending on how big the fire is, it takes a massive effort to contain it. The Greek islands also have strong winds, which can make the fires spread even faster. During this particular fire, the island of Crete was also experiencing smoke from Chios and even NASA detected imagery from space of the fire. Fire crews are still working hard to get rid of the fire completly.