Saharan Dust Clouds Engulf Athens, Turning Skies Orange as Wildfires Spread

Saharan dust engulfs Athens, turning skies orange, raising temperatures, and fueling wildfires, posing health risks and challenging firefighters in Greece.

Nimrah Khatoon
New Update
Saharan Dust Clouds Engulf Athens, Turning Skies Orange as Wildfires Spread

Saharan Dust Clouds Engulf Athens, Turning Skies Orange as Wildfires Spread

Athens, Greece - Saharan dust clouds have engulfed the Greek capital of Athens, turning the skies an eerie orange hue and raising temperatures across the country. The dust, carried from the Sahara Desert by strong southerly winds, has created a Martian-like filter over the city's landmarks, including the ancient Acropolis.

The orange skies are a result of the Saharan dust clouds, a common occurrence in the region during the spring and summer months. "The dust concentrations reached extremely high levels, with up to 430 micrograms per cubic meter of air recorded in Crete," reported meteorologists. The dust has also led to a rise in temperatures, with parts of southern Greece like Crete experiencing unseasonably warm weather over 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), more than 20 degrees higher than in northern Greece.

Why this matters: The Saharan dust phenomenon not only creates a surreal visual spectacle but also poses potential health risks, particularly for those with respiratory conditions. The dust particles can exacerbate asthma, bronchitis, and allergies, prompting health authorities to advise caution and limited outdoor movement for vulnerable groups.

Compounding the situation, the strong winds have fanned 25 wildfires across Greece in the past 24 hours. Three people were arrested on the Aegean Sea resort island of Paros on suspicion of accidentally starting a scrub blaze, while another fire near a naval base on Crete was brought under control. Authorities have been working to contain the wildfires, which have been fueled by the dry and hot conditions.

Greece suffers devastating and often deadly forest fires every summer. Last year, the country recorded the European Union's largest wildfire in more than two decades. Persistent drought and high spring temperatures have raised fears of a particularly challenging period for firefighters in the coming months.

The Greek meteorological service said the particles would gradually decrease on Wednesday as winds shift and move the dust away. Despite the expected clearing of the skies, the Saharan dust's impact on air quality and the ongoing wildfire situation remain concerns for residents and authorities alike. As firefighters continue to battle the blazes, health officials urge people, especially those with respiratory issues, to take necessary precautions and stay informed about air quality advisories in their areas.

Key Takeaways

  • Saharan dust clouds engulf Athens, turning skies orange and raising temperatures.
  • Dust concentrations reach extremely high levels, posing health risks for vulnerable groups.
  • Strong winds fuel 25 wildfires across Greece, raising concerns for a challenging fire season.
  • Greece suffers devastating forest fires every summer, with last year's being the EU's largest.
  • Saharan dust's impact on air quality and ongoing wildfires remain concerns for residents and authorities.