A dozen homes were destroyed and five people were hospitalized on Saturday with respiratory problems in a forest fire near Patras, Greece’s third largest city, authorities said.
Some 145 firefighters, 50 trucks, eight firefighting planes and helicopters were mobilized to put out the blaze in the Zeria region of the Peloponnese, about 210 kilometers (130 miles) west of Athens , said the firefighting services.
The authorities evacuated people from five villages in the area as well as from the tourist resort of Loggos on the coast.
A dozen houses burned down and five people with respiratory problems were transported to hospitals in the region, said the civil protection authority.
A motorway in the region has been closed, as has the Rio-Antirrio Bridge crossing the Gulf of Corinth connecting the Peloponnese and mainland Greece, the ANA news agency reported, but traffic resumed on Saturday evening.
Hospitals in Patras and the nearby town of Aigio had been ordered to admit anyone injured, while the coast guard stood ready to rescue swimmers in the smoke.
According to the civil protection agency, 56 forest fires have broken out in the past 24 hours, although most were quickly brought under control.
Greece is hit by forest fires every summer, but experts have warned that global warming is increasing both in frequency and intensity.
The country has been in the grip of a new heat wave since Friday, with temperatures hovering between 42 and 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit), according to meteorologists.
A few days ago, a fire ravaged Mount Penteli, near the capital Athens, but no casualties.
# photo1 This was the same area where a fire in July 2018 killed 102 people, the worst death toll ever recorded in Greece by a forest hell.
© 2021 AFP