Evacuations due to series of forest fires in Greece

Greek firefighters are busy with a series of wildfires spread across the country. People have been evacuated from homes in several places as a precaution. Over the past week, according to the fire department, around 300 forest fires broke out, 65 of them in the past 24 hours.

The largest source of fire is located about 40 kilometers west of Athens. The fire started Tuesday afternoon in the vicinity of the coastal town of Porto Germeno. More than 130 firefighters and ten fire planes and helicopters have been fighting the big forest fire ever since.

According to the local authorities, the strong, often changing winds complicates the operation. However, the fire seems to spread more and more slowly in the course of the evening. A village in the vicinity of the forest fire has been evacuated. An uninhabited house has burned out, reports public broadcaster ERT.

See images of the various forest fires in Greece here:

Earlier in the day, firefighters brought another major source of fire under control. This was in the vicinity of the town of Itea, about 100 kilometers west of Athens. Here, too, a number of residents had to leave their homes. Some 300 hectares of olive grove went up in flames.

On Monday, a hotel near the seaside resort of Kranidi in the Peloponnese region was vacated. No one was injured in this forest fire.

European aid

The Greek fire brigade receives help from colleagues from other European countries. Firefighters from Bulgaria and Romania, among others, are stationed in Greece, as part of a European cooperation plan. In the long run, 200 additional firefighters must be able to assist in the forest fire season.

Greece is affected by forest fires every year. In 2018, more than a hundred people were killed in a major forest fire. Since then, the Greek government has been extra alert to these kinds of calamities.

Due to the strong winds and the dry, warm weather, the highest alert phase of fire risk applies in large parts of the country until Wednesday. This includes a barbecue ban and people are not allowed to light a fire.