New Fires Burning Outside Athens
New wildfires outside Athens

An helicopter operates during a wildfire in Agios Konstantinos village about 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Athens, Greece, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. Greek authorities have deployed dozens of firefighters, as well as six water-dropping planes and four aircraft to a wildfire that broke out Monday morning in the Keratea region southeast of Athens, near the national park of Sounion. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

By ELENA BECATOROS Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — More wildfires broke out Monday in hard-hit Greece, with two blazes fanned by strong winds triggering evacuation alerts for villages southeast and northwest of the Greek capital.

The first blaze, which broke out in the morning in the Keratea region southeast of Athens, quickly burned through shrubland and was heading toward a national park in the Sounion area.

See also  40 Dead in Northern California Wildfires

Three communities in the area were ordered evacuated. Some residents desperately hosed down their homes, hoping to save them from the approaching flames, while volunteers armed with hoses and branches joined the battle against the blaze. The fire department sent in 91 firefighters, six water-dropping planes and six helicopters.

On the other side of the capital to the northwest, another blaze broke out in the Vilia area, triggering an evacuation alert for three other villages. Strong winds were predicted to last until at least the evening, potentially hampering the firefighting effort.

More than 60 firefighters there were being supported by eight water-dropping planes and five helicopters.

See also  Over 300 Firefighters Battle Western Montana Wildfire

Greece has been roiled by hundreds of wildfires this month, with the blazes coming on the heels of the country’s most severe heat wave in decades, which left its forests tinder dry.

Tens of thousands of hectares of forest and farmland have been destroyed, homes and businesses have been burned and thousands of people had to be evacuated by land or by sea. One volunteer firefighter died and four other firefighters have been hospitalized, including two in critical condition with burns.

The fires have stretched Greece’s response capabilities to the limit, leading the government to appeal for international help. About 24 European and Mideast countries sent firefighters, helicopters, planes and vehicles. By Monday most had left, although 40 Austrian firefighters remained in the southern Greek region of the Peloponnese, where two major fires have been burning for several days.

See also  Crews Contain Two Fires on New Mexico’s Rio Chama Bosque

Several Mediterranean countries have suffered intense heat and quickly spreading wildfires in recent weeks, including Turkey, where at least 16 people have died, and Italy, which saw several deaths. In Algeria, wildfires in the mountainous Berber region have killed at least 69 people.

Worsening drought and heat have also fueled wildfires this summer in the western United States and in Russia’s northern Siberia region. In all of Russia, some 15 million acres have burned this year.

Scientists say there is little doubt that climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving more extreme weather events.

Two major fires that began in early August, one on the island of Evia and another in a national park north of Athens, were still smoldering Monday, with firefighters deployed to secure their perimeters.

___

Follow all AP stories on climate change developments at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-change. https://apnews.com/hub/climate-change

Topics

By ELENA BECATOROS Associated Press ATHENS, Greece (AP) — More wildfires broke out Monday in hard-hit Greece, with two blazes fanned by strong winds triggering evacuation alerts for villages southeast and northwest of the Greek capital. The first blaze, which broke out in the morning in the Keratea region southeast of Athens, quickly burned through […]

Get The Wildland Firefighter Newsletter

Related Articles

Deadly CA Wildfire Wipes Out Scenic River Town

Deadly CA Wildfire Wipes Out Scenic River Town

By HAVEN DALEY and CHRISTOPHER WEBER Associated Press KLAMATH RIVER, Calif. (AP) — Roger Derry, 80, and his son have lived together in the tiny scenic hamlet of Klamath River in Northern California for more than 40 years. They know most of the town's 200 or so...

Western Flames Spread, CA Sees Its Largest 2022 Fire

Western Flames Spread, CA Sees Its Largest 2022 Fire

By NOAH BERGER Associated Press YREKA, Calif. (AP) — Crews battling the largest wildfire so far this year in California braced for thunderstorms and hot, windy conditions that created the potential for additional fire growth Sunday as they sought to protect remote...

Chief: Bottle-Magnified Sunlight Ignited Possum Kingdom (TX) Fire

Chief: Bottle-Magnified Sunlight Ignited Possum Kingdom (TX) Fire

By TERRY WALLACE Associated Press Sunlight magnified by glass bottles in an open garbage can ignited paper trash, starting a 500-acre (200-hectare) North Texas wildfire that destroyed five homes, fire officials said Thursday. The July 18 fire on Possum Kingdom Lake's...