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Destructive fires raging in Greece
28 July 2023
Wildfires that left devastated locals and tourists stranded are still gripping the
Greek island of Rhodes as crews battle to get the blazes under control.
In the last week, fires also broke out in other parts of the country including Corfu,
Evia, Achialos, Lamia and Magnesia.
Authorities say the fires fuelled by strong winds and successive heat waves are
effects of climate change and will be the new normal for the region.
Greek officials last week requested the activation of the European Union Civil
Protection Mechanism, a coordinated rescue and humanitarian assistance, to
fight wildfires. Firefighters and equipment arrived last week from several
“In the battle to deal with the fires, firefighters and water vehicles from 10
countries are working alongside the Greek forces and late tonight we expect the
arrival of 38 firefighters with 14 vehicles from Serbia,” fire officials said Tuesday.
ABOUT 30% OF FORESTS ON RHODES DESTROYED
The wildfires on the Island of Rhodes erupted ten days ago as the country and
much of Europe sweats through a record-breaking heatwave.
A wildfire west of Athens, which has destroyed 100 houses, has been burning
since July 17.
Greece is often hit by wildfires during the summer months but climate change has
led to more extreme heatwaves across southern Europe, raising concerns that
tourists will stay away.
Temperatures over the past week have exceeded 40C in many parts of the country
and are forecast to persist in the coming days.
A fire brigade official said the wildfires on Rhodes have affected 10 per cent of
hotels in the central and south east parts of the island. A photographer yesterday
claimed about 30 - 35% of forests on Rhodes have been totally destroyed.
The Greek government said authorities were carrying out the largest evacuation
ever undertaken in the country.
TWO FIRE FIGHTING PILOTS DIE
Two pilots died in a crash of a Canadair CL-215 firefighting plane on Tuesday, the
Air Force said in a statement. They had been dropping water on a blaze on the
mountainous region near Platanistos, Evia.
As their plane made a turn, it disappeared behind the hills, according to a video of
the plane taken moments before the crash. A moment later, a ball of smoke and
fire rose from the area.
The pilots, aged 34 and 27, were later found dead, Minister of National Defence
Nikos Dendias said in a statement. He declared a 3-day mourning period for the
Armed Forces “for the loss of life, in the line of duty.”
Adelaide, South Australia