- Title: Childhood memories are going down in flames, says Greek island volunteer
- Date: 9th August 2021
- Summary: GERAKIOU, EVIA, GREECE (AUGUST 9, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VOLUNTEERS AND FIREFIGHTERS CUTTING DOWN TREES WITH CHAINSAWS AND BULLDOZERS TO MAKE FIREBREAK ZONE IN FOREST ON FIRE (SOUNDBITE) (English) VOLUNTEER RICHARD CONSTANDINE ALLAN, SAYING: "Climate change is real and the heat, the heatwave affected this, we didn't see any rain to stop this fire. If it rained right now it would be bad for us." BULLDOZER KNOCKING DOWN TREES ON FIRE, WORKERS WORKING ON FIREBREAK ZONE VARIOUS OF ALLEN, WHO IS TAKING PART IN OPERATION, WALKING IN FOREST (SOUNDBITE) (English) VOLUNTEER RICHARD CONSTANDINE ALLAN, SAYING: "We would have to bring certainly people to create the forests again, plant trees, it is very important right now, everyone should do their part, they should donate to regrow the trees in north Evia, we should collect all the rubbish because most of the fires here were helped by the rubbish we throw in the cliffs." FELLED BURNING TREES ON THE GROUND / ROADSIDE TREE BURNING VARIOUS OF ELECTRICITY POLE LYING ON THE GROUND AFTER BURNING / BURNING TREES GOAT IN THE MIDDLE OF BURNED FOREST EATING (SOUNDBITE) (English) VOLUNTEER RICHARD CONSTANDINE ALLAN, SAYING: "Childhood memories are burned right now, I used to run in this forest, I used to cycle, we used to go for and collect fruits, now everything is gone." TRAVELLING SHOT OF VEHICLE MOVING THROUGH BURNED FOREST
- Embargoed: 23rd August 2021 16:28
- Keywords: climate change evacuation fires greece heatwave islands villages wildfire
- Location: GERAKIOU, EVIA, GREECE
- City: GERAKIOU, EVIA, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Europe,Wildfires/Forest Fires
- Reuters ID: LVA001EPK3VWN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: One volunteer on the Greek island of Evia said his childhood memories were burning down before his eyes as wildfires raged on Monday (August 9).
Richard Constandine Allan, a local of Greek-Scottish descent, has been volunteering his efforts to help put out the fires ravaging the Greek island and create a firebreak zone around the village of Gerakiou, where his family home is located.
Greek authorities have begun assessing the damage from wildfires that have devastated huge swathes of forest and forced thousands to flee from their homes over the past week, as fires burned unabated in many parts of the country on Monday.
The biggest front was on the island of Evia east of the capital, which has so far forced the evacuation of dozens of villages and thousands of people, while flames engulfed forests and homes in the island's north.
"Climate change is real and the heatwave affected this, we didn't see any rain to stop this fire," said Athens-based economist Allan.
Extreme heat waves that previously only struck once every 50 years are now expected to happen once per decade because of global warming, while downpours and droughts have also become more frequent, a U.N. climate science report said on Monday.
On Evia, Greece's second largest island which lies just off the mainland, water-bombing aircraft struggled to operate because of the large plumes of smoke blanketing the area, authorities said.
While working to help keep the blaze at bay, Allan said he was already thinking about the future of the forests and how they can be brought back to life.
The fires broke out during Greece's worst heatwave in three decades last week, with searing temperatures and dry heat causing tinder box conditions. Temperatures had cooled somewhat but were forecast to rise again during the week, meaning the risk of flare-ups remained high.
Greece has received assistance from a number of European countries to help battle the flames and more than 600 firefighters tried to contain the fire on Evia on Monday.
More than 2,000 residents and tourists have been evacuated by ferry since last Tuesday (August 3).
(Production: Fanny Brodersen, Marco Trujillo, Deborah Kyvrikosaios, Dina Selim)
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