Several EU Member States are rescue the forest fire ravaged areas in Southeast Europe with a team of firefighters and extinguishing equipment. The Netherlands sends two fire helicopters to Albania this week. Greece, Italy and North Macedonia get help from other EU countries.
The aid is coordinated from Brussels and partly financed by a European Emergency Aid Programme. This weekend, three extinguishing planes have already been sent to Turkey, which is also heavily hit by wildfires.
In Greece, 118 fires have broke out over the past 24 hours, not all of which have been extinguished. The Deputy Minister of Civil Defence, Nikos Hardalias, warned that the situation might worsen in the coming days. “According to our threat models, tomorrow is going to be a tough day,” he said in a press conference. “The hardest part is ahead of us.”
The fires that broke out north of capital Athens last night are almost under control, but there are still fireplaces elsewhere in the country.
“Burned All Night”
This afternoon, the Coast Guard evacuated some ninety people from the beach of the island of Evia, which is connected to the mainland by two bridges. They had fled the fire, which quickly seized around them in the pine forests on the island.
“It burned all night,” a resident of the coastal town of Rovies said to Greek channel Skai TV. “We left our homes and pets behind.” According to local media, several houses on the island have been laid in ashes.
On images from the water, the magnitude of fires on Evia can be seen clearly:
also fires in the west and south of the Peloponnese peninsula, including the old town of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympia. Residents of neighbouring municipalities have been evacuated as a precaution.
In 2007 Olympia was already hit by forest fires. Parts of the historic part of the city were severely damaged at that time. The ruins of Olympia, including remnants of temples and sports accommodations, are World Heritage Sites. Every four years, the Olympic flame is lit there, prior to the Olympics.
The forest fires have been holding South-Eastern Europe in their grasp for days. The area is ravaged by a long sustained heat wave, with temperatures of up to 45 degrees. Greece is the most intense heat wave in three decades.
Nature reserves in Turkey, Italy and some Balkan countries are also on fire. In Albania, one deaths have been killed so far, the authorities say. The victim had inhaled too much smoke.
In Turkey, at least eight people died as a result of the fires. Most of the fires there are now under control, although new fireplaces have emerged today.
For example, a natural fire hit a coal plant in the city of Milas in southwest Turkey today, the mayor tweeted:
The Mayor of Milas had warned about the rising fire over the past two days. Firefighters tried to protect the power plant by digging trenches around the building to keep flames at bay.
At first it seemed to work, but tonight the fire skipped anyway. Residential areas near the power plant have been evacuated.