Hundreds of Greek firefighters fought desperately on Sunday to control wildfires on the island of Evia that have charred vast areas of pine forest, destroyed homes and forced tourists and locals to flee.
“We have ahead of us another difficult evening, another difficult night,” Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias said on Sunday.
“On Evia we have two major fire fronts, one in the north and one in the south. The one in the north is driven by blasts of wind to the beach settlements”, he added.
In all, 17 firefighting aircraft — planes and helicopters — were fighting the fires on Evia, he added.
Evia lies just northeast of the capital Athens. To the southwest is the Peloponnese region where Hardalias said the situation was stable. Fires in a northern suburb of Athens have subsided, the Minister added.
“The situation in Attica (which encompasses Athens) is better but we are afraid of the danger of flare-ups”, said Mr. Hardalias.
Greece and Turkey have been battling devastating fires for nearly two weeks as the region suffered its worst heatwave in decades, which experts have linked to climate change. So far, the fires have killed two people in Greece and eight in neighbouring Turkey, with dozens more hospitalised.