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Environ Monit Assess. 2018 Nov 12;190(12):714. doi: 10.1007/s10661-018-7086-4.

The 2007 crisis and Greek wildfires: a multivariate analysis of suppression times.

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CREA - Research Centre for Forestry and Wood, Viale S. Margherita 80, I-52100, Arezzo, Italy.
CREA - Research Centre for Forestry and Wood, Viale S. Margherita 80, I-52100, Arezzo, Italy.
Department of Social and Economic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale A. Moro 5, I-00185, Rome, Italy.
Department of Economic and Regional Development, Institute of Urban Environment and Human Resources, Pantio University, 136 Syngrou Av., GR-17671, Athens, Greece.


Shifts in government priorities in response to the 2007 global recession have affected wildfire management and natural disaster funding arrangements, leading to a reduced effectiveness of fire suppression actions and increasing fire vulnerability. Our study investigates the role of local socioeconomic contexts on fire suppression effectiveness under economic expansion and recession in a Mediterranean region (Attica, Greece) strongly affected by 2007 crisis and displaying a persistently high density of peri-urban wildfires. Basic characteristics of wildfires (spatial distribution, intensity, and land use preferences) were investigated in the study area over two consecutive 8-year time intervals characterized by economic expansion (2000-2007) and recession (2008-2015). An integrated approach based on multivariate statistics and artificial neural networks was implemented to evaluate latent relationships between fire suppression time, wildfire characteristics, and socioeconomic dynamics. Controlling for wildfires' characteristics over the two time intervals, fire time length increased under crisis-mainly for small and medium-sized fires-possibly as an indirect response to reduced effectiveness of forest land management. Local contexts and political decisions influenced by economic downturns are relevant factors shaping wildfires' severity in the Mediterranean region. With recession, local contexts vulnerable to wildfires require more effective fire prevention measures, sustainable forest management, and regional planning.


Environmental hazard; Forest; Mediterranean region; Peri-urban spatial planning; Public spending; Wildfire management


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