A month after fires tore across parts of Greece in July 2023, dozens more fires ignited within 24 hours across the country in late August 2023.
A fire in the country’s northeast near Alexandroupolis produced a plume of smoke that stretched hundreds of miles southwest toward Italy. The plume is visible in this image, acquired in the afternoon on August 22, 2023, by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite.
Smaller plumes are visible from other fires burning elsewhere across the nation. According to news reports, fires near Athens burned homes and cars, and sent smoke wafting over the capital city.
Forecasts called for extreme fire weather—hot, dry, and windy—to continue on August 23. By that day, smoke was detected over Italy and across the Mediterranean Sea in northern Africa.
Fires are not unusual in Greece, but heat-stoked fire weather is projected to become more common as the planet warms. According to data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), the area burned in Greece so far in 2023 has surpassed that of the destructive 2021 fire season.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Wanmei Liang, using VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE, GIBS/Worldview, and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Text by Kathryn Hansen.