Kassandra, Halkidiki - Images of the countryside after the August 2006 fires

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Kassandra, Halkidiki - Images of the countryside after the August 2006 fires

By means of an Introduction

On 22 August 2006 disaster hit the Northern Greek peninsula of Kassandra, a popular holiday resort area for both Greeks and foreign tourists. A series of lightning strikes set fire to pine trees in the hills above the resorts of Kryopigi, Hanioti and Pefkohori on the eastern side of the peninsula, and Nea Skioni on the western side. The fires quickly spread and turned the beautiful holiday peninsula into a nightmare for the holidaying tourists. Thousands fled to the beaches and were picked up by ships and smaller vessels and transported to safety. One German tourist died. The Greek authorities were criticised for being slow to react and disorganised, and the fires raged for many days before being brought under control. Vast areas of pine forest hillsides were reduced to blackened bald slopes. Where once there was the sound of birdsong, there is now silence and the stench of burnt wood.

Below is a series of photographs taken above Hanioti on Sunday 10th September 2006. One of the pictures shows a view of the landscape shot on 11th June 2006, followed by a shot taken from almost exactly the same position after the fires. It is a telling reminder that nature is delicate and to be nurtured, even if the origins of the fire were themselves natural.

The vehicles in the Council depot were incinerated.

Looking back down towards Hanioti.

The following picture was taken in June and the one which follows it was taken from virtually the same spot in September.

A plastic drinks bottle twisted in the heat.

Pine cones - incinerated before they could come to life.

Bryan Hollamby, 11th September 2006

visits since 11th September 2006.