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Europe | Wildfires Information Bulletin (5 August 2021)

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This bulletin is being issued for information only and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is processing a DREF request from the Italian Red Cross, but at this point is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation. National Societies might, however, accept direct assistance to provide support to the affected population. In case you wish to offer any kind of support, please consult IFRC Regional Office for Europe Partnerships and Resource Development Team.

The situation – overview

High temperatures, longer period of droughts, lower precipitation and strong wind bursts lead to the onset of fires across many parts of Europe in the months of July and August. Over the last few days, the fires continued to spread in several countries, amongst which the worst affected are Turkey, Italy and Greece.

The fires in Turkey and Greece are the worst in decades, meanwhile the temperature is breaking records in Greece. Italy (region of Sardinia) has also been suffering from multiple fires of various sizes. Several residential areas and tourist destinations have been evacuated in Turkey, Italy and Greece. Tens of thousands of hectares of forests, pastures, and farms have turned into ashes, the largest area being in Turkey with close to 95,000 hectares burnt. There have been human casualties, and injuries include respiratory difficulties, small wounds and burns. Countless number of animals died, adding to major agricultural damages. The significant loss of livestock will likely have a negative impact on agricultural activities and thus citizens’ income in the long term. Evacuation and response operations have disrupted land transportation along highways and side roads. There are power outages and disruption to electricity as well as water supplies in affected areas.

According to the European Forest Fire Information System, the number of fires in 2021 exceeded previous year averages.