At Least Eight Dead As Wildfires Rage Across Southern Europe


At Least Eight Dead As Wildfires Rage Across Southern Europe

Forest fires fueled by an extended heatwave have continued to spread from Italy to Greece and Turkey as well as the Balkans.

July was the second hottest on record in Europe, according to EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service. The continuous heatwave persisting through August has contributed greatly in fueling the wildfires across southern Europe.

The fires that broke out in Greece and Turkey in particular, are considered to be among the worst in years, destroying enormously large areas of natural habitat, including villages.

Firefighters and water-dropping planes have been sent from European countries across the bloc to assist Italy, Greece, Albania and North Macedonia.

The fires in Greece have been spreading for more than a week, burning areas in the south Peloponnese, northern parts of Attica near Athens and the northern part of the island of Evia. Amongst the affected areas is Olympia, nearby the ancient site of the first Olympic Games.

Since Tuesday, more than 100 wildfires have been taking place across the country. Timelapse footage shared on Twitter shows smoke covering the capital following the fire that broke out in the northern part of Attica's region.

Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, Greek Defense Minister, said that the military forces would expand its role in fire prevention, utilising ground and air patrols over areas vulnerable to wildfires.

Florian Schmitz in Greece reported to DW:

"The firefighters don't seem to be able to control the flames."

Hundreds were forced to evacuate their villages in Evia as the flames were approaching, eventually consuming houses and local businesses. In the outskirts of Athens, people also had to flee their homes in the areas most affected by the fires, particularly Varimpompi, Trakomakedones, Kryoneri and Agios Stefanos. A significant part of mount Parnitha which stands as a protected natural reserve has also been burning.

In the southwest of Turkey, hundreds were also forced to flee as the fire burned a site nearby a coal-fueled power plant compound. The blaze was eventually contained, according to local authorities.

However, several more fires have continued to burn, mostly due to constantly shifting strong winds as well as low humidity. The worst wildfires that Turkey has experienced in decades have raged for 9 days.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said that according to an initial inspection, the overnight blazes left "no serious damage to the main units in the plant."

So far, at least eight people and countless animals have lost their lives.

Julia Hahn of DW, reported:

"People are saying authorities here in Turkey reacted too late."

The authorities' late response over the unfolding disaster has sparked rage against Erdogan's incompetent regime.

Erdogan said in a television interview on Wednesday:

"When fires break out in America or Russia, [the opposition] stands by the government, We don't have this,"

Prosecutors in Turkey launched a probe into social media posts about the disaster, saying that:

"[They are] trying to create anxiety, fear and panic in the public, and to humiliate the Turkish government."

On Italy's island of Sicily, wildfires have spread into three provinces which unite the protected forest parks of Medonie and Nebrodi.

The fires could be seen lighting up the night sky near the town of Castel di Lucio.

Despite the best efforts of Canadair and numerous firefighters, the fire could not be contained and spread uncontrollably. Several homes had to be evacuated by authorities. The authorities said that the thick layer of smoke had made air assistance more challenging.

[h/t: Deutsche Welle]



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Thinking Humanity: At Least Eight Dead As Wildfires Rage Across Southern Europe
At Least Eight Dead As Wildfires Rage Across Southern Europe
Forest fires fueled by an extended heatwave have continued to spread from Italy to Greece and Turkey. The continuous heatwave persisting through Augus
Thinking Humanity
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