Τετάρτη, 22 Αυγούστου 2012






Chios fire burning for a fourth day, mastic trees damaged

Wildfires were burning on Chios for a fourth day on Tuesday as authorities attempt to assess the damage done to the island’s mastic production.
“Effectively, half the island has been burned,” the island’s deputy prefect, Constantinos Ganiaris, told Skai TV.
Firefighters were battling three fronts one Wednesday. One was close to Yiannaki forest.
Officials from the Agricultural Insurance Organization (OLGA) have arrived on the island to inspect the damage done to the island’s rare mastic trees.
The European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) estimates that the fire has consumed a total of 12,740 hectares so far, dealing a massive blow not just to the island’s agricultural economy, but also to the world supply of Chios mastic, a resin used in a variety of food and cosmetic products which has protected designation of origin status.
Yiannis Madalas, head of the company behind Mediterra SA, a Chios Mastic Growers Association company, estimated Monday that the areas hit by the wildfire account for around 53 percent of the island’s total yield.
“Some 3,000 families live off the gum trees, which are the main source of income in the south of Chios, while many more supplement their incomes with mastic production,” Madalas told Kathimerini.
Madalas said that it takes an average of five to seven years before the Pistacia lentiscus begins producing the golden resin.
Chios produces between 20-25 percent of the world’s mastic crop, mainly around the village of Pyrgi, which was badly hit by the blaze.


Strong winds
The island is famous for its production of mastic, a natural, gum-like resin with a distinctive flavour produced only by trees on certain sections of the island.
Used as a natural chewing gum, a cooking spice and for pharmaceutical and cooking purposes, mastic resin is a major source of income for the islanders.
The strong winds were hampering efforts to extinguish the fires, despite the presence of several hundred firefighters, soldiers and volunteers, as well as firefighting planes and helicopters.
Wildfires are common during Greece's long, hot summers, though some are believed to be started on purpose.
A further five forest and brush fires broke out on Monday across Greece, the Associated Press news agency reports, while fire crews continued to fight six fires already burning in other parts of the country.
The government has requested the assistance of water-bombing aircraft from Spain and Italy to help with the summer blazes.









Fires on the Greek Island of Chios
A major forest blaze broke out shortly after 2 am on Saturday morning, August 18, 2012, on the Greek eastern Aegean Sea island of Chios. Hundreds of firefighters, soldiers and volunteers were struggling for a third day Monday (August 20) to tame a fire that burnt some 17,000 acres of forest, cultivated land and groves of the island's famed mastic trees. Chios is famous for the production of mastic, a gum-like resin with a distinctive flavor produced only by trees on certain parts of the island. It is used widely in confectionery, cooking and cosmetics and a major source of income. Local authorities said many of the trees had been burned, while the island's beekeepers had also lost 60 percent of their hives.

Smoke from the blaze, which was swept on by gale-force winds, was carried as far as the southern island of Crete, more than 230 miles away. Those gale-force winds are hampering efforts by about 360 firefighters, soldiers and volunteers, as well as firefighting planes, helicopters and 50 vehicles. Residents of nine villages and hamlets evacuated their homes over the weekend as a precaution.

This natural-color image was taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellites on August 18, 2012.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner with information from AP.