Thousands of Greeks fled their homes in a northern Athens suburb on Tuesday due to advancing forest fires. This is reported by international news agencies. In particular, the Athenian suburb of Acharnes, which has more than 100,000 inhabitants and is located about 15 kilometers from the center of Athens, is threatened by the fire in the nearby Tatoi Forest. At least 500 firefighters are said to have been deployed against the fire near Acharnes, probably the worst of the 81 forest fires that have ravaged Greece in the past 24 hours.
“It’s a big fire and it will take a lot of work to get it under control,” said George Patoulis, governor of the Attica Peninsula, where Athens is located. “The area is densely forested and very dehydrated from the heat wave, so the conditions” [om het vuur te blussen] are difficult.” The mercury has been around 41 degrees Celsius in the Greek capital for days and the forest fires are said to have caused clouds of smoke over parts of Athens.
Southern Europe has been ravaged by extreme heat, drought and forest fires since last week. According to the Greek authorities, the country is experiencing the worst heat wave since 1987. At least eight people have died in Turkey since Wednesday as a result of the fires, which mainly ravaged the southern coast. The Turkish fire brigade fought nine more fires in the provinces of Antalya and Mugla on Tuesday. Fire also hit southern Italy. In the regions of Sicily, Apulia and Calabria in particular, the fire brigade was deployed to extinguish forest fires.