Thursday, July 9

Greece Fire Sale

The problem for Greece is that many elderly Greeks own very valuable underdeveloped land.  It's the same for other European Mediterranean countries.   

 Wildfires near Athens, Greece - 2009 


2007 Greek Wildfires 
... While some fires are believed to have been caused by environmental factors, others clearly were not. The fires could have been deliberately started as a way to get around Greek law which forbids property development on areas designated as forest land and to pull benefit from Greece's unique position as the only EU country without a full land registry system ... (Wikipedia)


Wildfires rage through Greece: Thousands evacuated as flames reach Athens suburbs

2009 Greek Wildfires
... Unlike the 2007 Greek forest fires, the 2009 fires took place in eastern Attika, which is a forested-suburban region known for its illegal ribbon development, where thousands of illegal homes have been legalised ahead of successive elections by incumbent governments. This area is also expected to undergo further development and population increase as a result of new urban plans for the area. ... (Wikipedia)

With over a third of households unable to meet tax obligations, four out of 10 Greeks recently told a Kapa Research poll they would willingly hand over properties to the state to fulfil future payments; one in three, unable to keep up mortgage repayments, feared their homes would be confiscated in 2014. ...  "Greeks traditionally have always regarded property as a secure investment. But now it has become a huge millstone, given that the tax burden has increased sevenfold in the past two years alone."
Wildfires near Genoa, Itay - 2009 

The 2009 Mediterranean wildfires were a series of wildfires that broke out across France, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Turkey in July 2009. Strong winds spread the fire during a hot, dry period of weather killing at least eight people, six of whom were in Spain. Some of the wildfires were caused by lightning, along with arson and military training.
In the Mediterranean region, the current fire frequency due to human activity is considered much larger than the natural rate. 95% of forest fires in Spain are human-induced. The 2009 Mediterranean wildfires occurred during a particularly hot and dry summer period, increasing the risk of wildfires burning out of control once ignited. 

Temperatures peaked at 44 °C (111 °F) in mainland Spain and reached 37 °C (99 °F) in Gran Canaria. These conditions, combined with insufficient fire-fighting resources and an inadequate official response in some of the affected countries, exacerbated the extent of the damage.

Uncontrolled legal and illegal scrub burning by farmers is a major cause of forest fires in the Mediterranean region. Arson, while still a significant factor, has diminished in Spain and Greece in recent years. Decreasing property values generally and the introduction of legislation in Spain to tackle the issue has diminished the financial incentive to illegally clear forested land for development by burning. [...] (Wikipedia)

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