Homes, forests destroyed as major wildfires continue to burn across Greece

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Homes and forests have been destroyed as several major fires are burning across Greece and the recent heatwave has increased the dangers of new ones, Ekathimerini reports.

One wildfire has broken out in southern Greece, burning homes in villages not far from the famous archaeological site of Ancient Olympia and prompting the evacuations of six villages.

According to AP News, the fire broke out on Sunday afternoon near the villages of Krestena and Skillountia, which are south and southeast of Ancient Olympia.

A house is on fire near the village of Krestena south of Ancient Olympia. Photo: Giannis Spyrounis/ilialive.gr via AP.

Fire authorities said the prevailing north-westerly winds were pushing the fire to the southeast, up a mountain and away from Ancient Olympia.

Elsewhere, at least six more significant fires were also burning across the country on Sunday, with three of those burning for several days. 

The most extensive, and dangerous, fire is the one at the Dadia national forest, in the region of Thrace, near the border with Turkey, which began on Thursday. The forest is home to rare species, especially vultures, and is mostly made up of highly flammable pine trees.

The Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy, along with several NGOs, are going to create an emergency station for the treatment of wildlife. The World Wide Fund of Nature (WWF) and volunteer veterinarians are already treating animals brought in by firefighters and civilian volunteers battling the blaze.

The Fire Service is also battling fires at the resort of Vatera, on the southern side of the island of Lesvos, in southwestern Peloponnese and in a remote mountain area in the region of Western Macedonia, near the town of Grevena.

A firefighter tries to extinguishes a forest fire near the beach resort of Vatera, on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, Greece, Saturday, July 23, 2022. Photo: AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis.

The fire on the Greek island of Lesvos, which required the evacuation of over 450 tourists and locals Saturday, is slowly being controlled, with only scattered blazes late on Sunday afternoon, local authorities said.

Hot and dry conditions, along with gusty winds, have prevailed for weeks in Greece. A heat wave that arrived on Saturday pushed temperatures past 41 degrees Celsius in some places. The heat is expected to persist for several days.

READ MORE: ‘We are on your side’: Greek PM promises relief measures for people affected by wildfires.

Source: AP News and Ekathimerini.

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