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Greek firefighters in a tough fight to save the famous natural park – Top Stories News – Report by AFR

Greek firefighters battled a raging blaze threatening Dadia National Park, known for its black vulture colony, on Monday as the country scorched under a blistering heatwave.

The Mediterranean country is reeling under a heatwave that began on Saturday and is expected to last 10 days. Temperatures are expected to rise to 42 degrees Celsius (107 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions and the country is battling three major wildfires.

Scientists say human-caused climate change is amplifying extreme weather — including the heat waves, droughts and floods seen in several parts of the planet in recent weeks — and saying these events are becoming more frequent and intense.

On Monday, 320 firefighters, two depth bombers and four helicopters were deployed to contain the Dadia Park fire that broke out on Thursday.

Some villages in the area were evacuated. The flames have already destroyed almost 500 hectares of forest.

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

It is home to three of Europe’s four vulture species – the black vulture, griffon vulture and Egyptian vulture – and 36 of Europe’s 38 species of birds of prey.

Its diverse habitats also support 104 species of butterflies, 13 species of amphibians, 29 species of reptiles, and about 65 species of mammals, 24 of which are bats.

“It’s a tough fight, a fight for the survival of this extraordinary ecosystem,” Minister for Climate Crisis and Civil Defense Christos Stylianidis said on Monday after visiting the affected area over the weekend.

“After this difficult fight, experts must try to fix the problems caused by the fire,” he said, underlining the need to strengthen the “resilience of the ecosystem in the future”.

In view of the heat wave and the strong winds, there is a high risk of forest fires, the civil protection authority said on Monday.

Fires have raged in the north, east and south of the country, including on the tourist island of Lesvos, where around 200 people were told to leave the village of Vryssa on Sunday to escape the flames.

The international community agrees that climate change poses an existential threat to human systems and the natural world – but there are countless ways to take action.

The Earth’s average temperature has warmed by just over 1.1 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Era, and the United Nations says it is currently on track to warm by about 2.7 degrees Celsius this century.

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