September 25, 2021

Fires erupt in southern Europe, forcing hundreds to flee

Dozens of villages were evacuated from tourist destinations in southern Turkey on Sunday, while wildfires killed eight people on the fifth day, while fires erupted in Greece, Italy and Spain.

EU figures show that due to rising temperatures and strong winds, climate change is increasing both the frequency and intensity of such flames, experts say.

Turkey has been suffering its worst fire in at least a decade, burning about 95,950,000 hectares (235,000 acres) so far this year, compared to an average of 13,516 between 2008 and 2020. Was in place

Forest fire in Turkey
Firefighters fight wildfires in Turkey Photo: DHA

The CNN Turkish broadcaster reported that a neighborhood in the tourist city of Bodrum had been evacuated, as strong winds ignited a fire in the nearby district of Malas.

Unable to travel by road, 540 residents were taken by boat to hotels, the channel said.

People were also evacuated from the resort city of Antalya, and two bodies were found in the area on Sunday, bringing the death toll to eight.

Forest fire in Turkey
About 300 firefighters, two water bombers and five helicopters are fighting wildfires in Greece. Photo: Eurokinesis / STR

Temperatures are set to remain high after hitting record levels last month.

On July 20, the southeastern town of Caesar recorded a temperature of 49.1 degrees Celsius (120.3 degrees Fahrenheit).

And the mercury is expected to reach 40C in Antalya on Monday.

Forest fire
More than 330 people have received medical treatment in Turkey since the fire. Photo: AFP / –

The Turkish Ministry of Defense released satellite images showing the extent of the damage, forest areas turned black and smoke is still visible.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticized for saying that Turkey does not have firefighters, although a third of its territory is in the jungle and fires are on the rise.

According to EU figures, Turkey has been hit by 133 wildfires in 2021, compared to an average of 43 in the years between 2008 and 2020.

European forest fires
A graph of progress in the area of ​​forest fires in EU countries in 2021 compared to the average picture of 2008-2020

Meanwhile, a large fire broke out near Petras in western Greece on Saturday morning.

Five villages have been evacuated and eight people have been hospitalized with burns and respiratory problems in the area, which is on alert.

A fire broke out in Turkey
Turkey faces its worst fire in at least a decade Photo: AFP / –

According to the fire brigade’s provisional figures, about 20 houses have been burnt down.

Demetris Calugropoulos, the mayor of the nearby village of Aigalias, called it “a great disaster.”

About 30 houses, warehouses and stables were burnt in the villages of Zaria, Kumars, Achias and Libre.

“We slept outside all night, afraid we wouldn’t have a house,” a Libre resident told the Greek TV station Sky.

The coastal resort of Loggos was also evacuated, and about 100 residents and tourists were sent to the nearby town of Ague.

According to EU figures, 13,500 hectares were burned in Greece, compared to an average of 7,500 in 2008-2020.

More than 20,000 hectares of forests, olive groves and crops were destroyed in a fire in Sardinia last weekend, and Italy was again engulfed in flames.

The Italian fire brigade said more than 800 fires were recorded this weekend, mainly in the south.

The brigade tweeted, “In the last 24 hours, firefighters intervened more than 800: 250 in Sicily, 130 in Paglia and Calabria, 90 in Lazio and 70 in Campania.”

He added that firefighters were still fighting fires in the Sicilian cities of Catania, Palermo and Syracuse.

While Italy’s south is burning, the north is facing a wild storm.

“The damage caused by violent storms and hailstorms throughout this northern Italian countryside during this crazy summer is worth millions of euros,” said the Coldness Agricultural Organization.

In Spain, dozens of firefighters were battling wildfires with the help of drones that erupted Saturday afternoon near the San Juan reservoir, 70 kilometers (40 miles) east of Madrid.

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