Greece hopes to control forest fires “in the next few hours” – .

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Greece hopes to control forest fires “in the next few hours” – .


Varympompi (Grèce) (AFP)

Greek firefighters said on Wednesday they hoped to contain a forest fire near Athens “within the next few hours.”

“The situation has improved and we hope to bring the fire under control in the next few hours,” the firefighters said in a statement.

More than 500 firefighters, a dozen water bombers and five helicopters have been battling fires outside the capital since Tuesday afternoon.

A dozen homes were destroyed by the flames and dozens of businesses, bars and vacation homes were severely damaged in Varympompi, 30 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of Athens, officials said. .

Villages were evacuated and part of a major highway connecting the capital to the north and south of the country was cut for security reasons.

As the country turned in a strong heatwave, the fire spread to the foot of Mount Parnith, sending thick smoke over the capital.

Local media reported that dozens of children were rescued from a summer camp near the Athenian suburb of Varympompi.

“We are facing a difficult fire in extreme heatwave conditions,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who visited Varympompi in the morning.

Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias told reporters that after “an exceptionally difficult night”, with four fronts of fire, “there is only one left now”.

Experts have warned that climate change is increasing both the frequency and intensity of forest fires.

Several other fires were still raging on Wednesday in Greece, especially in the southern Peloponnese region, 300 kilometers from the capital, three villages were evacuated after a fire which broke out on Tuesday afternoon.

As the country is under a severe heatwave, the fire spread to the foot of Mount Parnith, sending thick smoke over the capital LOUISA GOULIAMAKI AFP / File

Another was blazing on the island of Euboea, some 200 kilometers east of the capital where eight villages were evacuated.

More than 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of pine and olive trees were burned by a fire that broke out on Saturday near the city of Patras, 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Athens. He was overpowered on Monday.

Turkey has suffered from its worst fires in at least a decade, killing eight and forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate to southern areas popular with tourists.

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