In Greece, Wildfires Kill Dozens, Driving Some Into the Sea

 "People watching a wildfire raging on Monday in Rafina, east of Athens." Credit Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

"People watching a wildfire raging on Monday in Rafina, east of Athens." Credit Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

We are devastated to hear the tragic news coming out of Greece this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. The stark realities of a warming planet and increasing extreme wildfire conditions are making it all the more imperative for us all to take action now to reduce climate-related risks and impacts worldwide.

From the Source:

Fast-moving wildfires near Athens have killed at least 76 people, officials said on Tuesday, and have forced thousands of tourists and residents to flee in cars and buses, on foot, aboard boats and on makeshift rafts. In desperation, some people plunged into the Aegean waters and tried to swim to safety.

Gale-force winds topping 50 miles an hour have fanned a pair of fires that tore through seaside areas popular with travelers, leaving behind a trail of charred resorts, burned-out cars and smoldering farms, and wrapping the region in a pall of smoke. Officials said that at least 187 people were injured, including 23 children.

The extreme conditions are in line with patterns that scientists attribute to climate change. Heat waves can be linked to climate change in several ways: Increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hold more of the sun’s heat, raising temperatures globally. A hotter climate in turn changes the way air and ocean currents move around the planet, which can further increase temperatures in certain places, like the Mediterranean.