© Reuters. On August 4, 2021, a firefighter sprayed water to help extinguish wildfires in the suburb of Varympompi, north of Athens, Greece. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Authors: Giorgos Moutafis and Angeliki Koutantou
ATHENS (Reuters)-On Wednesday, residents and holidaymakers on the Greek island of Evia fled to the shore and evacuated by boat as a rapidly spreading wildfire swept the surrounding pine forest, leaving behind destroyed buildings .
Since late Tuesday, fires that have intensified due to changes in wind direction have forced the authorities on the islands near Athens to evacuate several villages. On Wednesday, residents and tourists in the seaside village of Rovis were told to evacuate close to the sea.
“It’s close (to the village of Rovies). It’s difficult,” said Spyros Georgiou, a spokesperson for the Civil Defense Agency.
The fire brigade said three firefighters were slightly injured.
Volunteer rescuer Tassos Baltas, who helped the authorities move people from villages to safety, said that “it started at Halkida, the capital of Evia, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) away.” ash.
The fire that threatened houses in the northern suburbs of Athens on Tuesday eased slightly. However, the authorities said that as Greece is facing its worst heat wave in 30 years, the risk remains high in most parts of the country in the coming days.
The temperature hovered above 40 degrees Celsius (107 degrees Fahrenheit) for the third consecutive day.
“The weather conditions are very bad,” Nikos Hardalias, deputy minister of civil protection, said in a televised speech on Wednesday. “We should be vigilant. We should avoid any-but any-activities that may cause a fire.”
The reinforcements were originally scheduled to arrive from Cyprus. Fires also broke out in the Peloponnese, Messinia and Mani areas, and in the Ilia area near Ancient Olympia, where the first Olympic Games were held.
“We have terrible moments in Ilya,” said Nektarios Famaakis, the governor of western Greece.
This summer, Europe experienced extreme weather. From flooding in the north to severe heat waves and fires in parts of the Mediterranean, Turkey suffered the most violent fire ever.
In Turkey, a fire broke out on Wednesday for the eighth consecutive day, and firefighters were fighting 16 wildfires.
Residents of Athens were told to stay indoors because the fire near the town of Varympompi in the north of the capital enveloped dense smoke over the city. After the fire broke out on Tuesday, the fire damaged dozens of buildings and destroyed more than 80 cars.
“I saved my pet, that’s why I stayed,” said Panagiotis, a Varympompi resident, standing between a burned car and a blackened pine tree. “I got goose bumps as soon as I talked about it; all the houses around me were burned down, and nothing was left.”
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