May 05, 2024

DAGR Kafeneion: Up In Smoke? Wrap-Up


by Gina Billy, DAGR At-Large Rep

The DAGR Kafeneion “Up in Smoke?” on April 3rd was designed to help members be fire safe and prepare for the onset of wildfire season, which usually begins in Greece at the end of April or early May. As it turned out, the “fire” kafeneion arrived just (barely) in the nick of time. Read on to learn why and to watch key takeaways or segments of the event. 

Key Take-Aways

On March 31st, fire broke out in the Pierian Mountains, northwest of Mt. Olympus. As “Up in Smoke?” got underway, that fire was still raging. Just a few days later on April 7th,  Greece’s Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection reported that 71 wildfires were burning around the country. Many regions – including the Athens area, central Greece, the Cyclades, and Crete – were placed in the “high risk” category for wildfires. Bans on activities such as burning garden and tree trimmings, “bee smoking,” outdoor grilling, and any work involving machines that emit sparks were in place. Catch the drift here. (11 mins)

Elizabeth Sellwood, UN Environment

During the information-packed “Up in Smoke? Prevent, Protect, Prepare” both of our expert presenters spoke convincingly and passionately about the great need for far more focus on fire prevention at national, regional, and local levels. Elizabeth Sellwood (Senior Programme Manager, Environmental Security, United Nations Environment Programme ) kicked off the Kafeneion by sharing about her work coordinating the Mediterranean Forest Initiative. You can see Elizabeth’s talk here on the DAGR YouTube channel. (13 mins)

Spyros Kinias, EDNY - Part 1: Situation in Greece

Following Elizabeth’s talk on preventive efforts at the regional level, Spiros Kinneas, Chief Volunteer the South Hymettus Mtn. Forest Protection Volunteers team (EDNY), zoomed in on the situation in Greece. In part 1 of his talk, Spiros provided an overview of the factors behind the dangerous increase of wildfires and their intensity, and showed how  wildfires impact each of us. See part 1 of Spiros talk here. (21.5 mins)

Spyros Kinias, EDNY - Part 2: Fire Safety Plan

Next, Spiros explored what can be done to effectively address the human-created “wildfire threat.”   He then provided “must see” information about steps to take now to make your own fire safety plan – and things to do (and not do) in the event you are directly confronted with a wildfire.  You’ll find part 2 of Spiros presentation (that includes information that could help save your own and your loved ones’ lives) here. (26.5 minutes)

Spyros Kinias, EDNY - Part 3: Volunteer Fire Fighting

Spiros wrapped up his presentation by giving us a closer look at the work of the grassroots volunteer firefighting and educational initiative of South Hymettos. This is the type of local initiative Elizabeth had spoken to earlier. Spiros urged each of us to become actively involved in fire prevention and forest protection/preservation efforts in our communities Watch it here. (11 minutes)

Question & Answer - Discussion

There was a LOT to take in and still more questions arose. It's a topic of 'burning' interest and high concern. Take in the closing discussion here.


Check DAGR Events pages for upcoming DAGR Kafeneion events:
May 28, Mobility author Lydia Kiesling
June 19th,  US journalist René Syler on the significance of Juneteenth