Man killed in Greece wildfires as new blazes rage


Published: 2023-08-21 21:14

Last Updated: 2024-07-03 22:14

Man killed in Greece wildfires as new blazes rage
Man killed in Greece wildfires as new blazes rage

A man was found dead in a wildfire raging north of the Greek capital Athens Monday, firefighters said, as they battled fresh blazes across the country.

"An old shepherd ran to his sheepfold to save the animals and was retrieved dead," a spokesman from the fire brigade told AFP in Boeotia, about 100 kilometers north of Athens.

People on a beach and in two communities near the fire were told to evacuate.

Around 60 firefighters assisted by four water-bombing planes were battling the flames, another official from the fire service told AFP.

Another wildfire broke out on the island of Evia, where 42 firefighters had been deployed, backed up by four planes, and communities were ordered to evacuate.

Two more were raging in northeastern Greece in the regions of Rodopi and Kavala, while another one broke out in Aspropyrgos, a town west of Athens.

The European Union announced it was deploying two Cyprus-based fire-fighting aircraft and a Romanian fire-fighting team via the bloc's civil protection mechanism.

"Greece has already experienced by far its worst July since 2008 in terms of forest fires," Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic said.

"The burned area is larger and the fires are more intense and violent, destroying more surface area than before."

Civil protection authorities warned of an "extreme" fire risk in the region around Athens and other parts of southern Greece.

"We are facing extreme phenomena and we all have to adapt to this difficult situation," said fire service spokesman Yannis Artopios in televised statements, calling people to follow authorities' instructions.

Fires also continued to burn out of control for a third day in northeastern Greece near the port city of Alexandroupolis.

Seven firefighters and one volunteer had to be taken to hospital with injuries, the official said.

Some 13 communities have been evacuated over the weekend and civil protection authorities urged residents to remain indoors due to the smoke.

The very hot and dry conditions which increase the fire risk will persist until Friday, according to meteorologists.

Amidst a heatwave, a fire that started on July 18 and was fanned by strong winds ravaged almost 17,770 hectares in 10 days in the south of Rhodes, a popular tourist island in the southeastern Aegean Sea.

Around 20,000 people, mostly tourists, had to be evacuated.