Strong winds fuel new wildfires in Greece

Forty-five wildfires were recorded in Greece on Friday for the third consecutive day, driven by strong winds that led to precautionary evacuations in several villages, particularly in southern Peloponnese, according to firefighters.

At least four major fires broke out in the Peloponnese Peninsula, particularly near the city of Megalopoli in Arcadia and in the regions of Argolida, Messinia, and Achaia, located between 150 and 250 kilometers southwest of Athens.

Fire Service spokesman Vasilis Vathrakogiannis said in a press conference that “the weather conditions are extremely challenging; wind speeds in some areas exceeded 95 kilometers per hour on Friday, making it difficult for water bomber pilots to operate.”

He added that in total, “45 fires were recorded across the country,” including one near the resort of Mavro Lithari near Athens, which was quickly contained. He urged citizens to remain vigilant.

In Megalopoli, where a fire broke out near a power station owned by the Greek Electricity Company, 44 firefighters are working to contain the flames, supported by 12 vehicles, six water bombers, and two helicopters, according to the Greek news agency ANA.

Since Wednesday, authorities have warned of a “very high risk” of wildfires due to strong winds and high temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius in some areas.

A fire was recorded on Wednesday in Koropi, 30 kilometers southeast of Athens, prompting the precautionary evacuation of residents from two neighboring villages and three private schools.

Greece, accustomed to heatwaves, has been preparing for a difficult summer with a high risk of wildfires after experiencing its mildest winter on record.

The Mediterranean country experienced its first heatwave last week, with temperatures exceeding 44 degrees Celsius.

In 2023, Greece suffered from devastating fires and a two-week heatwave during which temperatures surpassed 40 degrees Celsius.

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