Greece: European firefighters and planes join battle against wildfires that have left 20 dead in Greece

ATHENS: Water-dropping planes from a number of European international locations joined tons of of firefighters Wednesday battling wildfires raging for days throughout Greece that left 20 individuals useless, whereas main blazes additionally burned in Spain’s Tenerife within the Canary Islands and in northwestern Turkey close to the Greek border.
Greece’s largest present forest hearth was burning uncontrolled for the fifth day close to the town of Alexandroupolis within the nation’s northeast, whereas one other main blaze on the northwestern fringe of Athens was burning properties and heading in the direction of the Parnitha nationwide park, one of many final inexperienced areas close to the Greek capital.
Over three days, 209 wildfires had damaged out throughout Greece, hearth division spokesman Ioannis Artopios stated Wednesday morning. The blazes, fanned by gale-force winds and sizzling, dry summer time situations, led authorities to order the evacuations of dozens of villages and the primary hospital in Alexandroupolis, the place practically 70 of the greater than 200 sufferers had been transferred to a ferry docked within the metropolis’s port that was changed into a short lived floating hospital.
Though gale-force winds had been progressively abating in lots of components of the nation, the chance of latest fires remained excessive.
“Circumstances stay tough and in lots of circumstances excessive,” Artopios stated.
Firefighters looking not too long ago burnt areas within the Alexandroupolis area, which is close to the border with Turkey, found the our bodies of 18 individuals believed to be migrants in a forest Tuesday. One other two individuals had been discovered useless on Monday, one in northern Greece and one other in a separate hearth in central Greece.
With firefighting forces stretched to the restrict, Greece referred to as for help from different European international locations. Germany, Sweden, Croatia and Cyprus despatched water-dropping plane, whereas Romania and the Czech Republic despatched dozens of firefighters and water tanks.
Evacuations had been ordered for a number of areas on the northwestern fringe of the Greek capital as a wildfire that began Tuesday raced up a mountain in the direction of the Parnitha nationwide park, threatened a army base within the space and torched properties within the foothills.
Greater than 200 firefighters backed by volunteers, army and police forces, eight helicopters and 7 planes, together with two from Germany and two from Sweden, had been battling the blaze.
The hearth in Alexandroupolis continued to burn uncontrolled, with dozens of Romanian firefighters becoming a member of the battle in opposition to the flames, backed by eight helicopters and 5 planes, together with two from Cyprus.
Supreme Court docket prosecutor Georgia Adilini requested the Alexandroupolis prosecutor to launch investigations into whether or not organized arson teams had been working within the area.
Local weather Disaster and Civil Safety Minister Vassilis Kikilias, talking throughout a information convention Wednesday, stated the hearth in northeastern Greece had began in a number of locations concurrently.
Adilini additionally requested the Alexandroupolis prosecutor to analyze incidents of racist violence, after three males within the Alexandroupolis space allegedly sequestered 13 migrants who they accused of being linked to the wildfire.
Police late Tuesday arrested one Albanian and two Greek nationals on suspicion of imprisoning the 13 Syrians and Pakistanis in a automobile trailer. A video posted on-line confirmed one of many three referring to the migrants in terminology used for livestock and urging different members of the general public to spherical up migrants.
The three had been charged Wednesday with a sequence of crimes, together with kidnapping, and had been being held pending a preliminary court docket later within the week.
Throughout the border in Turkey’s Canakkale province, sturdy winds had been fanning a wildfire for a second day.
Authorities evacuated an aged care house and greater than 1,250 individuals from 9 villages and closed down a freeway. Greater than 80 individuals had been handled in hospitals for the results of smoke.
Ibrahim Yumakli, Turkey’s forestry minister, stated firefighting groups backed by greater than two dozen fire-dousing planes and helicopters had largely blocked the blaze from spreading past the 1,500 hectares (15 sq. kilometers, practically 6 sq. miles) it has affected to this point.
Authorities additionally suspended maritime visitors via the slim Dardanelles Strait linking the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara, which the water-dropping plane had been utilizing to refill, the minister stated.
On Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands, authorities stated a wildfire burning for greater than every week was practically beneath management after scorching 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres).
“It is a very powerful battle that the firefighting groups are successful,” stated Canary regional authorities counselor Manuel Miranda.
Authorities stated firefighters had been engaged on securing the perimeter, which had reached 88 kilometers (55 miles).
Spain is sweltering beneath its fourth heatwave of the summer time. In response to Spain’s climate service, as much as 16 temperature data for August had been damaged Tuesday in several components of the nation.
Sporadic fires had been additionally being reported in Italy, which has been engulfed in a heatwave anticipated to increase into the weekend with temperatures above 38 levels Celsius (100 levels Fahrenheit) in lots of cities. Forty firefighters and three plane had been battling a brush hearth that broke out early Wednesday on the outskirts of the Ligurian seaside city of Sanremo, a preferred summer time vacation spot. No accidents or property injury had been reported.
With their sizzling, dry summers, southern European international locations are notably susceptible to wildfires.
European Union officers have blamed local weather change for the rising frequency and depth of wildfires in Europe, noting that 2022 was the second-worst yr for wildfire injury on file after 2017.

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