Greece is facing a major ecological disaster as firefighters continue to battle a major wildfire in the Dadia Forest near the border with Turkey.
The forest is home to one of Greece’s most important national parks and hosts a number of rare bird species and some 400 plant species.
“Unspeakable sadness has been caused by the fire that has affected the core of the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli National Park. At the time of writing, one of the country’s and Europe’s most important national parks is under threat, and with it the region’s unique birds of prey,” wrote WWF Greece.
According to its website, the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park is “one of the most important protected areas at national, European and international scale.”
It is one of the first areas in Greece to be declared as protected since a great deal of flora and fauna species found in the Balkan Peninsula, Europe and Asia coexist here.
The landscape mosaic formed by pine and oak forests, interrupted by clearings, pastures and fields is the ideal habitat for birds of prey. The National Park hosts three out of the four Vulture species of Europe (the Black Vulture, the Griffon Vulture and the Egyptian Vulture), while it is home to the only breeding population of Black Vultures in the Balkans.
Members of WWF Greece and the Society for the Protection of Biodiversity of Thrace, an environmental organization that operates in the Thrace area, have been at the forefront from the first, assisting both in the firefighting work and giving all possible help to other relevant bodies in the area, including local firefighters, the Greek army, the Forestry Services of Evros and volunteer firefighters.
Greece’s state-owned TV broadcaster ERT shared a video report from the scene of the fires.
The Dadia fire is one of many to yet again rage in Greece this year, including blazes in Ilia, a region in the western Peloponnese, on Lesvos, in the northern Aegean, and in Pella, central Macedonia.
Last week a massive fire in Penteli, a mountainous area in Attiki, left behind dozens of destroyed houses and thousands of acres of forest burned.
As a result of all the fires, Greeks have been vocal about Government spending on proper firefighting resources, with many criticizing the New Democracy government for spending so much on military defense, while ignoring the needs of firefighters.
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