ATHENS (Reuters) - Thousands of people fled their homes on the outskirts of Athens on Friday as emergency crews struggled to stop wildfires from spreading to more towns while scorching winds fuelled blazes across Greece for the fourth day.
Like elsewhere in Europe, Greece has been grappling with extreme weather this summer and a week-long heatwave - its worst in 30 years - has sparked simultaneous wildfires in many parts of the country, burning homes and killing animals as flames tear through thousands of acres of land.
There were 56 active fronts across Greece on Friday, from the Peloponnese to the island of Evia near the capital, where hundreds of people had to be evacuated by boat as flames burned through forestland to the shore.
“We are continuing our efforts, hour by hour, to tackle multiple fires today,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said, as authorities ordered the evacuation of more suburbs north of Athens, where wildfires on the foothills of Mount Parnitha burst back into life late on Thursday.
The fire, which first broke out on Tuesday, burned around the main highway linking the capital to northern Greece and hundreds of firefighters with water-bombing aircraft were engaged in a “titanic effort” to prevent the flames reaching the nearby town of Marathon, Hardalias said.