Greece was battling three wild forest fires across the country on Sunday, forcing hundreds to evacuate as higher temperatures raised concerns of more blazes.
The country is in the grip of a heatwave that began on Saturday and is expected to last 10 days. Temperatures should soar to 42 degrees Celsius (107 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions.
Experts blame climate change for the rising temperatures – and warned that worse was to come.
Fires raged in north, east and south Greece, including on the island of Lesvos.
The fire raged on Lesvos on Sunday after erupting a day earlier, causing the evacuation of hundreds of tourists and residents from the beach village of Vatera.
At least four homes were destroyed, state television ERT reported, and fires damaged an unknown number of shops, hotels and beach bars in the village.
Dozens of firefighters tried to bring the blaze under control on Sunday morning, with four water-dropping planes and two helicopters deployed.
Wildfire burned for a fourth day in Dadia National Park in the northeastern region of Evros, known for its colony of black vultures.
The fire has already destroyed almost 500 hectares of forest.
More than 300 firefighters struggled to bring the blaze under control in Evros, and late Saturday thick smoke forced the evacuation of the village of Dadias.
It was not known how many people were evacuated.
“The most important thing for us is the safety of the villagers and all forces are deployed there,” Evros Governor Dimitris Petrovits told the Athens News Agency.
The fire had already passed the bird of prey station and was approaching the buildings of the protected area administration.
Petrovits said collecting and treating injured animals is a high priority for authorities.
In the Peloponnese, a southern peninsula, a fire that broke out Saturday morning forced the evacuation of the village of Chrysokelaria.
Wildfire in the mountains near Athens on Wednesday also damaged homes and forced hundreds of people to evacuate after gale force winds earlier this week.
Greece’s worst wildfire disaster killed 102 people in the coastal suburb of Mati, east of Athens, in 2018.
The latest fires come after a heatwave and wildfires devastated 103,000 hectares (255,000 acres) and claimed three lives in Greece last year.
Fires in parts of France, Spain and Portugal have already burned more land this year than was destroyed by flames in all of 2021.
The area of around 517,881 hectares corresponds to the size of Trinidad and Tobago.
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