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World

AFP
August 10, 2019

Strong winds fan wildfires in Greece

World

AFP
Sat, Aug 10, 2019

Athens: Greece on Saturday battled over 50 wildfires nationwide, including a major blaze near Athens, in a dangerous mix of high temperatures and strong winds unseen in nearly a decade.

The fire department said it had mobilised more than 450 firemen and 23 aircraft nationwide to tackle the fires, including one on the island of Elafonissos and two around Marathon, near Athens.

A camping site and a hotel on Elafonissos and a children´s summer camp near Marathon were evacuated as a precaution, state news agency ANA reported.

Marathon is a short distance from Mati, the coastal resort where last year 102 people died in Greece´s worst fire disaster.

Temperatures in some areas are expected to hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday, accompanied by gale force winds.

On Friday, civil protection chief Nikos Hardalias said it was the first time since 2012 that the country had faced such a mix of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity.

"We are called upon to manage extreme weather conditions over the next three days... we must all be careful," Hardalias told reporters as he placed emergency services on high alert.