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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Resource Economics

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2009

Month Degree Awarded

February

Keywords

Wildfires, Greece, Agriculture, Natural Disasters, Statistics

Abstract

The summer of 2007 was the worst wildfire season ever recorded in Greek contemporary history with approximately 270,000 hectares of land burned throughout the country. The area most severely hit was the Peloponnesian state of Elia. Econometric analysis with the use of primary and secondary data was carried out in an attempt to disentangle the effects of a variety of factors in the spread of the fire. The findings identified villages in low altitudes and steep slopes as the ones most vulnerable to the risk of wildfire. Wind speed played a significant role in exacerbating the blazes. As far as human factors are concerned population density was negatively associated with wildfire spread. In addition, the more olive groves were found within the boundaries of a village the less damage the settlement was found to have sustained. Finally, participation of local people in fire abatement efforts was significant in reducing wildfire risk.

We conclude that public policy should consider a more holistic approach to wildfire management; one that would incorporate the “human-fire” interactions more thoroughly and balance the importance of ecological variables and social parameters in both wildfire prevention and mitigation.

First Advisor

John Spraggon

Second Advisor

Joe L. Moffitt

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