Sunday, 1 October, 2023

Greece races to tackle wildfires as winds resume

Greek fire crews on Thursday raced to put out wildfires around the country that have raged for two weeks and left five dead, before strong winds forecast for the day rekindle blazes.

Hundreds of firefighters backed by European Union reinforcements were struggling to contain fires on the islands of Rhodes, Corfu and Evia, in addition to a new front that erupted Wednesday in central Greece.

Early Thursday, another fire broke out near homes in the leafy Athens suburb of Kifissia, but was quickly extinguished.

Officials have said more than 600 wildfires have broken out around the country since July 13.

Tens of thousands of residents and tourists at the height of Greece's busy travel season have been evacuated in past days, including 20,000 people on Rhodes.

A dangerous fire broke out Wednesday near the industrial zone of the central city of Volos, leaving two dead.

An elderly disabled woman was found dead inside her burned camper van in a Volos coastal area, and a cattle farmer was killed while trying to rescue his livestock.

Temperatures are expected to drop Thursday after a prolonged heatwave but near-gale winds may complicate efforts to douse the fires.