The National Park of Dadia is populated by the cinereous vulture, with the old forest homing about 35 pairs of the birds, including five Egyptian vultures, the only ones in Greece.
Greece’s General Director of Greenpeace, Nikos Charalampidis, reported the blazes have ruined the ‘cinereous vultures’ nests and it will take time for the forest to be restored.
“I don’t know if someone can calmly evaluate the damage right now, since the forest of Dadia was also burnt last year. Last year, the cinereous vultures’ nests were saved. The forest’s core was unaffected.”
This year, however, the firefighters have not yet managed to stop the fires at Lefkimi and Provatona in the Evros region.
“We do not know if there is any of the forest of Dadia left,” he explained.
There is only one black vulture colony left in the Balkans, with efforts to protect the vultures which breed in Dadia Forest.
The cinereous vultures were the healthiest population in the area with some of the rarest birds in Europe and the world.
Birds migrate to the Dadia forest, where some of the trees are more than 100 years olds. There is deep concern the birds may not return to the forest, as it depends on the restoration of the ecosystem, the director of Greenpeace expressed. Some of the rare birds may not be spotted in the area again.
“If they survived the fire, they might migrate for some generations and return to some nearby area,” Charalampidis said.
Update on wildfires in Greece:
The blaze, which has destroyed vegetation and villages throughout Greece, is one of the largest wildfires in recent years in Greece, and Europe.
For 17 days firefighters have engaged in fighting wildfires in Greece and extinguishing remaining pockets of fire, according to Ekathimerini.
Additional personnel were dispatched during the weekend to combat the wildfire in the Evros region, situated near the border with Turkey, bolstering the total number of firefighters to 741. They are supported by 124 vehicles and two aircraft. Tragically, the blaze has been linked to the loss of 20 lives, all of whom are believed to be migrants who had recently crossed the border.
The fire initially ignited on August 19 near the northeastern city of Alexandroupoli before merging with other infernos to form a colossal wildfire.
By Sunday, it had devoured more than 93,000 hectares (230,000 acres) of land, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service, marking it as the largest single fire incident to impact an EU member state since record-keeping began in 2000.
In the summer, wildfires are a recurring occurrence in Greece and various other southern European nations, owing to the hot and arid climate.
Over recent weeks, dozens of fires have erupted daily across the country. The fire department reported handling 82 wildfires between Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, with 49 of them emerging within a 24-hour span.
Faced with an exhausted firefighting contingent, Greece sought assistance from fellow European countries and received substantial support, including hundreds of firefighters and a fleet of planes and helicopters from various nations across the continent.
As of Sunday, firefighting teams from France, Spain, Cyprus, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Albania, and Serbia were still actively involved in operations within Greece.