Greek Islands Battle Wildfires Amid Gale Force Winds and High Fire Risk

Greek Islands Battle Wildfires Amid Gale Force Winds and High Fire Risk

Firefighters in Greece are struggling to contain wildfires on Andros and other regions, with high winds and hot conditions exacerbating the situation. Learn about the ongoing efforts and preparations.

Greece, Bollywood Fever: Hundreds of firefighters struggled on Saturday to contain wildfires fanned by gale force winds on two Greek islands and in other parts of Greece, as authorities warned that many regions face a high risk of new blazes.

On the island of Andros in the Aegean, more than 30 firefighters, backed by two aircraft and five helicopters, battled a wildfire burning away from tourist resorts. Four communities were evacuated as a precaution. “More firefighters are expected on the island later in the day,” a fire services official told Reuters, adding that there were no reports of damage or injuries.

Wildfires are common in Greece but have become more devastating in recent years amid hotter and drier summers, which scientists link to climate change. A wildfire near Athens last week forced dozens to flee their homes. Authorities believe the fire was caused by arson, exacerbated by hot, dry conditions.

Greek Islands Battle Wildfires Amid Gale Force Winds and High Fire Risk

Meteorologists noted that the latest fires mark the first instance of “hot-dry-windy” conditions so early in the summer. “I can’t remember another year facing such conditions so early, in early and mid-June,” meteorologist Thodoris Giannaros told state TV.

On Friday, a 55-year-old man died in hospital after being injured in a blaze in the region of Ilia on Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula, as several fires burned on Greece’s southern tip. Several hundred firefighters have been deployed to battle more than 70 forest fires across the country since Friday. High winds and hot temperatures are expected to extend the risk into Sunday, according to the fire service.

Earlier on Saturday, firefighters tamed a forest fire on the island of Salamina, in the Saronic Gulf west of Athens, and another about 30 kilometers east of the capital.

After forest fires last year forced 19,000 people to flee the island of Rhodes and killed 20 in the northern mainland, Greece has scaled up its preparations this year by hiring more staff and stepping up training.

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