Fire tragedy inevitable without a national plan, says world expert

Greek fire tragedy

Greek fire tragedy

The world’s leading professor of fires and climate change Johann Georg Goldammer said that the main cause of the deadly and devastating fire in Mati was "the alteration of the natural landscape and land-use change”.

Goldammer who is a professor "Ecology of Fires" at the renowned Max Planck Institute of the University of Freiburg, and head of the "Global Fire Monitoring Center” (GFMC) of the UN made the claim during an interview with Athens News Agency and added “that the change of habits have led to the abandonment of the countryside”.

The professor proposed Greece “put together a national 'holistic plan' for the prevention and treatment of such disasters as in Mati."

 "Everyone, not just the Greeks, should adjust to the changes that climate change brings. It will be painful because we must finally say goodbye to past habits so that we can generally make the environment resistant to such extreme weather situations. For example, to say goodbye to old town planning standards and to plan together in the long term. Climate change must become a major political issue. It is very important because it will determine the future evolution of the world. It must be done even if it hurts." 

When asked whether it was possible to extinguish two simultaneously evolving fires in western and eastern Attica, Goldammer was emphatic.

"No, because in Mati the fire evolved within a few minutes", adding that even American firefighters are unable to face fires with winds of 120 kilometers an hour. 

The professor did not forget to highlight the role played by the unregulated construction and the narrow, deadlocked roads, while on the question of whether it was possible to evacuate Mati, Professor Goldammer answered, citing the international experience again he was emphatic, saying “No” given that the “fire expanded too quickly and with great severity.