The deadliest wildfires

The US wildfire in which almost 100 have died in Hawaii is among the most deadly of the 21st century

Firefighters try to extinguish a wildfire as it approaches Zambujeiro village in Cascais on July 25, 2023. (Photo by Patricia DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)

The US wildfire in which almost 100 have died in Hawaii is among the most deadly of the 21st century.

Some previous wildfires:

– Australia –

In “Black Saturday” in Australia’s Victoria state, 173 people were killed, in Australia’s worst bushfire on February 7, 2009.

Whole towns and more than 2,000 homes were destroyed.

– Greece in 2007 and 2018 –

In Greece’s worst-ever fire disaster, 103 people died when wildfires swept through homes and vehicles in the coastal town of Mati near Athens in July 2018, leaving only charred remains.

The majority of the victims were trapped by the flames as they sat in traffic jams while trying to flee. Others drowned while trying to escape by sea.

In 2007, a 12-day inferno starting in late August killed at least 67 people and destroyed 800 homes across the southern Peloponnese peninsula.

The flames engulfed most of the region’s olive groves. The Aegean island of Evia was also badly affected.

In all 77 people died that summer due to fires.

– Algeria in 2021 and 2022 –

More than 90 people, including 33 soldiers, were killed in dozens of wildfires in Algeria in August 2021.

The government blamed arsonists and a blistering heatwave for the blazes, but experts also criticised authorities for failing to prepare for the annual wildfire season.

In August 2022, massive blazes killed 37 people over several days in northeastern El Tarf province, near the border with Tunisia.

More than 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) went up in smoke in El Kala National Park, a UNESCO-listed heritage spot famous for its rich marine, dune, lake and forest ecosystems.

– 2018: California –  –

On November 8, 2018 at dawn, California’s deadliest modern fire broke out in the town of Paradise, some 240 kilometres to the north of San Francisco, killing 85 people over more than two weeks.

It burned more than 62,000 hectares of land and reduced more than 18,800 buildings to ashes.

An investigation found that high tension electricity wires sparked the fire.

The Camp Fire is likely the most deadly fire in the United States for a century; the Cloquet Fire in 1918 in the northern state of Minnesota killed around 1,000.

– Portugal in 2017 –

The deadliest wildfires in Portugese history broke out in the central Leiria region during a heatwave in June 2017 and burned through hills covered with pine and eucalyptus trees for five days.

Many of the 63 people who died became trapped in their cars while trying to escape.

In October, a new series of deadly fires broke out in northern Portugal, killing another 45 people as well as four in neighbouring Spain. Those fires were chiefly blamed on arsonists.


© Agence France-Presse

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