ATHENS (AFP) – Thousands of tourists and residents were evacuated and a thick cloud of smoke and ash hung over Athens as “nightmarish” forest fires raged in Greece Saturday, while heavy rains brought some relief to neighboring Turkey.
At least 1,450 Greek firefighters along with 15 aircraft were battling the infernos, with reinforcements arriving from other countries, the fire service said.
The blazes in Greece are set to continue, with strong winds and temperatures of up to 38 degrees C (100 F) forecast in some regions on Saturday.
As of August 5, the areas burnt were 180 percent more than the average for the period 2008-2020, according to the European Forest Fire Information System.
“When this nightmarish summer ends we will reverse the damage as soon as possible,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pledged on Saturday.