HomeNewsThousands forced to flee as wildfires rage across Europe

Thousands forced to flee as wildfires rage across Europe




Fire authorities across southern Europe battled on Sunday to control huge wildfires in countries including Greece, Spain and France.

This comes as a heatwave continues to bring extreme temperatures, causing hundreds of deaths across south-western Europe.

In Greece, the fire brigade said on Sunday that 51 blazes had broken out within a 24 hour period.

Over the weekend, Greek fire officials were battling wildfires in the hills around Rethymno in northern Crete, as well as at the municipality of Agios Vassilios. On Saturday, the flames had reached Agios Georgios, where luxury rental homes for tourists were evacuated by order of mayor Giannis Tatarakis.

Fire on the Greek island of Crete. Credit: Hellenic Fire Service @pyrosvestiki / Twitter.

The fight against the flames in Greece has already claimed the lives of two firefighters when their helicopter fell into the sea near the Greek island of Samos on June 14.

In Spain, more than 600 members of the military emergency unit have been helping firefighters and wildlife rangers tackle dozens of forest fires across the country, where blazes have so far torn through at least 14,000 hectares.

A firefighting plane drops water over a plume of smoke in Ladrillar, western Spain. Photo: Gustavo Valiente Herrero/Europa Press via AP.

In France, wildfires have now spread over 11,000 hectares in the southwestern region of Gironde, and more than 14,000 people have been evacuated, regional authorities said on Sunday afternoon.

French President, Emmanuel Macron, said some 3,000 firefighters backed by water-dumping planes are battling the blazes in southern France, and Greece sent firefighting equipment to help.

“Solidarity is European. A year ago, when Greece was facing terrible fires, we mobilised as Europeans. Yesterday, Greek firefighting aircraft arrived in the south of France to support the work of our firefighters,” Macron tweeted.

In response, Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, wrote on Twitter: “United against the attacks of climate crisis, Greece and France stand side-by-side to protect life and nature, in both countries, but also in our common homeland, Europe.”

Source: The Guardian.

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