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Abstract

Due to climatic and other factors, Greece is likely to face increasing challenges in managing the risk of wildfires. Available data suggest that while the annual number of fires has tended to decline, the average area burned has tended to increase. If risk of damage and potential loss of life are to be addressed, there will need to improvements in both fire prevention and suppression. Many of the challenges are associated with the development of human settlements and associated changes in land use that increase wildfire risk. Institutional constraints relating to property rights and the implementation of fire risk reduction measures, e.g. limitations on controlled burning, construction of fire breaks, and the management of vegetative types that increase fire risk, as well as the elimination of unregulated building are important. Improved land management in high risk areas needs to be accorded high priority. A recent committee report on wildfire risk reduction and management prepared for the Greek government proposes a number of measures to avoid a repeat of the loss of life experienced in 2018. Some of these measures have been proposed before but never implemented. Consequently, whether necessary changes will be actually be made is an open question.

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