Wed. Oct 20th, 2021

About 145 firefighters were mobilized to put out fires near Patras, Greece’s third largest city.

About a dozen houses burned and five people were taken in with breathing problems while firefighters battled a forest fire near Patras, Greece’s third largest city.

About 145 firefighters, 50 trucks, eight firefighting planes and helicopters were deployed to put out the blaze in the Zeria region of the Peloponnese, about 210 km west of Athens, the fire department said on Saturday.

Authorities evacuated people from four villages in the region as well as from the coastal coastal resort of Loggos.

About a dozen homes burned and five people who experienced respiratory problems were transported to hospitals in the region, the civil protection authority said.

Firefighters told the Associated Press news agency that the fire was large and was progressing on several fronts, although the wind had dropped slightly.

Greece is hit by forest fires every summer, but experts have warned that global warming is increasing their frequency and intensity [Andreas Alexopoulos/AP]

Hospitals in Patras and the neighboring city of Aigio were notified to admit injured while the coastguard was ready to rescue swimmers overwhelmed by smoke.

The Greek press agency ANA said the highway between the Peloponnese and continental Greece was closed.

Greece is hit by forest fires every summer, but experts have warned that global warming is increasing their frequency and intensity.

Greece has been in the grip of another heatwave since Friday, with temperatures between 42 and 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit), weather forecasters say.

A few days ago, a fire destroyed Mount Penteli, near the capital Athens, but caused no casualties.

It was the same area where a fire in July 2018 killed 102 people in Greece’s worst toll of a forest inferno.

The veld fire near the town of Lampiri, west of Patras, started high on a mountain slope, but moved dangerously near coastal villages [Andreas Alexopoulos/AP]

A total of 56 wildfires have broken out in Greece over the past 24 hours, aided by a combination of dry weather, a heat wave and strong winds. Most were taken out at an early stage, said Civil Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis.

The heat wave is expected to peak on Monday, with indoor temperatures ranging from 42 to 46 degrees Celsius (107.6 to 114.8 Fahrenheit).

Temperatures will remain at 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) or higher until at least Friday at least Friday, meteorologists say.

In neighboring Turkey, the death toll from wildfires raging in Turkey’s Mediterranean towns rose to six on Saturday after two forest workers were killed, the country’s health minister said.

Fires in Turkey since Wednesday have burned down forests and some settlements, invading towns and tourist destinations and forcing people to evacuate.

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