Greek firefighters are fighting on Monday to control two major forest fires on the tourist island of Rhodes and in the northwest of the Peloponnese.
In question, scorching temperatures which maintain a high risk of fire everywhere in Greece.
While the mercury was to reach 45 degrees Monday in some regions, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis even referred to "the worst heat wave since 1987".
More than 3,000 hectares of pine forests and olive groves burned in two days in Achaia, near Patras, 200 km from Athens, according to estimates by the National Observatory of Athens, which relied on images of the satellite. This area could increase further because the fire, which left eight lightly injured and burned a dozen houses, is not completely under control, according to the weather services at the Greek agency ANA.
More than a hundred firefighters, assisted by 20 vehicles, three planes and six helicopters, were mobilized Monday morning in Rhodes, and this since Sunday, according to civil protection.
“Dawn finds Rhodes much better than the day before.
The (various) fronts (of the fire) are in recession "and" almost under control, "South Aegean Governor George Chatzimarkos said optimistically in a statement Monday morning.
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Already last week, an "uncontrollable" forest fire threatened dwellings in the area around Mount Penteli, in the Athens region.
Strong winds combined with high heat raised fears of deadly fires as in July 2018, when a fire started from a slope of the mountain had killed 102 people in the coastal town of Mati, near Athens.
Greece is hit by "the worst heat wave since 1987", warned Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, while the mercury was to reach 45 degrees Monday in some regions.
Since Thursday, Greece has been going through a scorching period which is expected to peak on Monday and Tuesday, according to weather forecasts. It had been affected by a similar heat wave in July 1987, which mainly affected Athens and killed more than a thousand, due to the lack of air conditioning and air pollution. The heatwave that hit Greece complicates the task of firefighters in this region where the vegetation is dried up by the heat. Temperatures of 44 to 45 degrees were expected Monday in the western Peloponnese, according to weather services.
The General Secretariat for Civil Protection established the fire risk at a "very high" level on Monday over most of the country, in particular the Athens region, the Peloponnese, Crete and the Aegean Islands. In the Peloponnese, in Rhodes, as in all of Greece, the new heat wave is expected to reach its peak on Monday and Tuesday. Weather services have forecast temperatures of 40 to 42 degrees on the islands and 41 to 43 degrees on the mainland, with highs of 44 to 45 degrees in the Peloponnese and Thessaly (north). At the same time, minimum temperatures in several regions will be above 26 to 27 degrees, intensifying "the feeling of discomfort", depending on the weather.