A wildfire near the Greek capital that started on Tuesday continued to destroy parts of the forest in Mount Parnitha, threatening more homes as the wind is expected to get stronger through the day.
(Bloomberg) — A wildfire near the Greek capital that started on Tuesday continued to destroy parts of the forest in Mount Parnitha, threatening more homes as the wind is expected to get stronger through the day.
The fire in the national park north of Athens roared back overnight and could get worse as wind speeds are expected to pick up from about 10 a.m., a spokesman for the fire service said in an interview with Mega TV. Smoke is covering much of Athens, making it hard for people to breathe even in the center.
Helicopters and aircraft, some provided by European Union member states, are dumping large amounts of water, working along with emergency service staff on the ground.
This summer has seen extreme temperatures, violent storms, flooding and wildfires across Europe and North America. Global warming has increased the intensity of such events — July was the world’s hottest month ever.
Another fire in the northeastern region of Evros that started on Saturday also continues to burn. It left 18 migrants dead as it swept through the Dadia forest. In the past 24 hours alone, authorities are fighting 55 blazes.
Greece is receiving help through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism, and planes, helicopters and firefighters have been sent from Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, France and Sweden.
The Attica region, which includes Athens, is on a high alert warning for further fires on Thursday as the temperature is expected to hit 36C (97F) in the capital.
The local prosecutor has also been asked to look into possible causes of the fire in Evros in light of reports of arson, as well as incidents of violence reported against migrants. Greek police, the fire service and secret service are also investigating.
Opposition parties have heavily criticized Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over his handling of the wildfires, which have burned more than 90,000 acres in the past three days.
Mitsotakis plans to bring the issue up for debate in parliament, according to the government’s spokesman, who added that this is not the right time to exchange political barbs.
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