Two dead as Greece battles growing wildfire front


Published: 2023-08-22 11:35

Last Updated: 2024-07-03 22:57

Two dead as Greece battles growing wildfire front
Two dead as Greece battles growing wildfire front

Greece on Tuesday was battling a growing wildfire front that killed two and forced widespread evacuations in the second deadly wave of fires in a month.

Blazes burned unchecked in northeastern Greece, the islands of Evia and Kythnos and the region of Boeotia north of Athens, amid a dangerous mix of gale-force winds and temperatures of up to 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit).

"There are nine active fronts... it's a similar situation to July," a fire department spokeswoman told AFP, referring to a wave that left five dead.

Late Monday an evacuation was ordered at the hospital of Alexandroupolis, a northeastern Greek port city in an area where fires are raging for a fourth day.

The coastguard said it had moved 65 patients to a waiting ferry at the city harbor.

On the island of Evia, near the capital, officials late Monday evacuated the industrial town of Nea Artaki, where the fire has damaged poultry and pork farms.

The flames were also threatening the national park of Dadia, where the body of a man believed to be an undocumented migrant was found late Monday.

An elderly shepherd had also been found dead in the Boeotia region earlier Monday.

Dadia is one of the most important protected areas in Europe, offers an ideal habitat for rare birds and is home to the only breeding population of black vultures in the Balkans.

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

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

Amid a heatwave, a fire that started on July 18 and was fanned by strong winds ravaged almost 17,770 hectares (more than 43,000 acres) 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.