Thousands of acres of blackened wasteland show the climate crisis is very real – and it’s getting worse | World News


The speed these fires are spreading is truly frightening.

As we approach the village of Kandili from Athens a haze of dirty smoke starts clouding the horizon.

In the open air, the simple act of breathing feels uncomfortable and flakes of ash pepper our clothes.

The wildfires have now been burning for a few days and in some places they’ve destroyed people’s homes.

For those living on the frontline of this unfolding disaster it is a harrowing time.

We meet Stella, who’s just been told to leave her property in Kandili in the town of Mandra, an outer suburb of Athens.

She’s disorientated and fearful of what comes next.

“I haven’t slept. Look, look at what’s happening. I haven’t slept in two days because I knew the fire was coming over here. I could see it, I could feel it. We haven’t slept we have all spent the whole night outside,” she tells me.

The emergency response is now gearing up across this region.

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As the flames get nearer to the settlements the sound of police and fire sirens whine near continuously over the crackling fires.

The air is thick with a choking smoke.

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‘As soon as they put a fire out, another starts’

There’s unsurprisingly an urgency now in the response – the police have issued evacuation orders for people to leave.

A heating Earth is increasing the frequency of these wildfires.

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In Kandili and across the Mandra area they’re trying to dampen the flames and create firebreaks in the earth with bulldozers to stop the flames leaping to the next area of brush.

But, it is often hopeless with the amount of resources they have; the strong gusty winds fuelling an inferno which in many places is out of control.

So far, it’s mainly been forest and farmland that’s been consumed by the flames but that may not remain the case for long.

Like many of the residents in Kandili, Manolis thinks the authorities have been slow to act.

“It was only at nine in the morning that just one helicopter flew over. If they acted sooner, they might have saved more.”

Containing the fires though in an area that is bone dry from back-to-back heatwaves is near impossible, when one fire is put out another starts.

Thousands of acres of land have so far been turned into a blackened wasteland.

The Greek government is now asking the EU for more assistance to help the nation’s firefighters deal with this emergency.

Here the climate crisis is very real and it’s getting worse.

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