Greece's wildfires have killed more than 80, and a government official is accurately deeming the events a "biblical disaster," Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.
The big picture: Officials sifting through charred wreckage have found that these blazes were so swift-moving and burning so hot that many victims had virtually no chance of outrunning them. Some victims were found still hugging each other, according to news reports.
Between the lines: While an arsonist's match, a downed power line or another ignition source might have been the spark for these blazes, the changing climate and ongoing heat wave acted as accelerants — ensuring that the fires would be an extreme event that would stand out even in a region prone to wildfires.
- The Mediterranean's summers are getting hotter and drier, making larger, more dangerous fires more likely.
- In 2017, that combo led to disastrous fires in Spain and Portugal, but this year, it's been Greece's turn to experience the worst of the damage.
- This is particularly the case in areas where people have built homes up against, or in some cases within, forested lands that historically has experienced fire.
The bottom line: Greece is facing a national tragedy that has multiple causes. Increasingly, human activities are dialing up the threat level for fires like this one, making us more at risk to future disasters.
Go deeper: See more pics and read about climate change's broader role
P.S. Visitors are being ordered out of Yosemite Valley to avoid unhealthy air quality and other risks posed by the two-week old, 38,000-acre Ferguson Fire that is raging nearby. Go deeper.