2012 Chios forest fire

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2012 Chios forest fire
Location Greece:
Chios
Date(s) 18 August 2012 - current
Ignition source heat wave, suggested arson, and wind
Land use forest, groves of mastic trees (Pistacia lentiscus var. chia)

The 2012 Chios forest fire was a wildfire that broke out in the southern half of the Greek island of Chios shortly after 2 a.m. on Saturday 18 August 2012.[1]

Early on 18 August the people of two villages in southern Chios were evacuated as a safety measure,[2] and the blaze threatened the army base near Vessas.[3] By the evening of 20 August it was reported that a total of nine villages had been evacuated as the fire continued to advance.[4]

By Monday 20 August local authorities reported that 7000 hectares (16,000 acres) of forest and farmland had been destroyed.[4] Official reports on 20 August added that many mastic trees in "Mastichochoria" region had been burned, the only world source of mastic resin, used in food, cosmetics and medicines. The beekeepers of Chios had lost 60 percent of their hives.[1]

About 360 firefighters, soldiers and volunteers were trying to control and extinguish the fires with the use of water-bombing planes and helicopters as well as 50 vehicles.[1] The Greek government had asked for the help of aircraft from Spain and Italy[4] to help not only with this but six other forest fires that broke out elsewhere in Greece on 19 August and five more on 20 August.[1]

Already on 18 August smoke from the fire was visible as far south as Crete, nearly 100 kilometers (60 miles) away.[3]

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