More wildfires raged outside Athens and forced evacuations in southern Greece on Thursday while firefighters managed to stop the flames from damaging the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia.
Greece’s military and other EU countries provided additional support as water-dropping planes and helicopters flew over the fires near Athens, on the island of Evia and near the birthplace of the ancient Olympics.
“The country is facing an unprecedented environmental crisis, with multiple large fires,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.
The EU sent 40 French firefighters and eight tons of material to help Greece, according to a report by the Associated Press.
A forest fire which originally broke out near Athens on Tuesday rekindled, damaging or destroyed scores of homes and causing yet more evacuations.
On Tuesday on the island of Evia, a major fire ravaged and forced the evacuation of villages.
The fires have not caused any deaths or serious injuries. But Greek scientists said the total destruction in just three days surpassed 50% of the average area burned in Greece during previous years.
The causes of the wildfires remain unclear, but authorities say human error and carelessness are most frequently to blame.
Featured image: A Russian aircraft operates during a wildfire near ancient Olympia, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. Greece evacuated people in boats from an island beach Wednesday amid heavy smoke from a nearby wildfire and fire crews fought elsewhere to keep flames away from the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games as the country sweltered under a record heat wave. (Giannis Spyrounis/ilialive.gr via AP)
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