The fire of July 23rd, 2018 Mati, Attiki Greece: Lessons learned in the face of lacking crisis management:

Authors: Aggeliki Barberopoulou*, Salem State University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Applied Geography
Keywords: fire, disaster,resiliency,disaster management
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download

Greece is affected by many natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods, fires, and tsunamis. Fires, in particular, every summer account for thousands of burned acres of land (farm/forests/urban). Greece is at greatest vulnerability during the summer months when high temperatures and high winds set the “ideal” conditions for this natural disaster. For example, in 2007, according to the Greek Fire Department, 19,054 fires broke out in urbanized areas and 11868 in other (farm/forest). The fires killed 63 people and burned more than 12% of Greece’s forest land (Gitas et al. 2007). More recently, on Monday, July 23rd, 2018 a fire started on the west of Attiki prefecture (West of Athens). A few hours later another fire NNE of Athens near Penteli suburb was also reported. The Fire Department and other resources were focused on the first fire. Within two hours the second fire, became the worst fire disaster in modern Greek history, worst fire disaster in Europe and one of the worst fire disasters globally in the last hundred years. At least 100 people perished (number believed to be larger). There are many aspects that make this disaster an interesting case study. Since a warning was never issued, people evacuated based on the best information available, which in most cases meant their best judgment. The author looks into the different facets of the impact of one of the worst fire disasters of the 20th century, including individual perseverance in the face of no crisis management.

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