Greek firefighters battle large wildfires with reinforcements

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PEFKI, Greece (AP) — Tons of of firefighters in Greece, backed by planes, helicopters and reinforcements from different international locations, battled huge wildfires that continued burning Sunday, fueled by bone-dry situations after the nation’s worst warmth wave in many years.

Authorities devoted essentially the most sources to tackling 4 main blazes: one, on Greece’s second-largest island of Evia, that has burned for 5 days, reducing throughout the island from coast to coast and isolating its northern half; and three within the southern Peloponnese area.

A fifth harmful hearth simply north of Athens gave the impression to be on the wane, after burning dozens of properties and companies within the Greek capital’s northern suburbs, triggering the evacuation of hundreds of individuals and decimating giant tracts of forest, together with within the Mount Parnitha nationwide park, one of many final forests close to Athens.

One volunteer firefighter died in that blaze after struggling a head damage from a falling electrical energy pole. No less than 20 folks have been handled in hospitals for fire-related accidents, together with two firefighters who have been in intensive care.

The causes of the fires are beneath investigation. Three folks have been arrested Friday — within the better Athens space, central and southern Greece — on suspicion of beginning blazes, in two circumstances deliberately.

One other particular person, a 47-year-old Greek, was arrested Saturday afternoon within the Athens suburb of Petroupoli for lighting two fires in a grove and setting 4 dumpsters on hearth, police stated.

Between Saturday night time and Sunday, Greek coast guard vessels and ferries evacuated 83 extra folks from seashores in northern Evia. Authorities urged the residents of 4 villages in north Evia to evacuate. On Friday night time, greater than 1,000 folks have been evacuated from the island by sea as flames raged on the hillsides behind them, reducing off different technique of escape.

Native officers and residents in north Evia known as in to tv information packages on Saturday, interesting for extra firefighters and water-dropping planes as the fireplace that broke out Tuesday afternoon raced north towards villages. The blaze has obliterated huge swaths of forest and burned scores of properties on the island of rugged mountains common with vacationers and campers.

The fireplace division stated 575 firefighters with 35 floor groups and 89 automobiles have been battling the Evia wildfire, together with 112 Romanian and 100 Ukrainian firefighters despatched to Greece as reinforcements. 4 helicopters and three planes, together with an enormous Beriev-200 airplane leased from Russia, supplied air assist.

Ten international locations have already despatched personnel and firefighters gear corresponding to plane to Greece, whereas one other eight are sending additional reinforcements.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Saturday visited the fireplace division’s headquarters in Athens and expressed his “deep unhappiness” for the volunteer firefighter’s dying. He later visited the airport from which firefighting planes take off and thanked the pilots, each Greek and French.

Securing assist for everybody affected by the wildfires can be “my first political precedence,” the prime minister stated, promising that every one burnt areas could be reforested.

“When this nightmarish summer season has handed, we’ll flip all our consideration to repairing the injury as quick as potential, and in restoring our pure atmosphere once more,” Mitsotakis stated.

Greek and European officers have blamed local weather change for the massive variety of fires that burned by means of southern Europe in latest days, from Italy to the Balkans, Greece and Turkey.

Huge fires even have been burning throughout Siberia in northern Russia for weeks, forcing the evacuation Saturday of a dozen villages. In all, wildfires have burned almost 15 million acres this yr in Russia.

Within the U.S., sizzling, bone-dry, gusty climate has additionally fueled devastating wildfires in California.

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Becatoros reported from Argostoli, Greece.

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Comply with AP’s local weather protection at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-change

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