Thousands Flee Greek Island of Evia as Wildfires Continue to Burn

Thousands of people have fled their homes on the Greek Island of Evia on Sunday as wildfires burned uncontrolled for the sixth day.

Civil protection deputy minister Nikos Hardalias said a fire front in the north of Evia was being pushed by strong winds towards beach villages. He said the conditions there were particularly tough for the water-bombing planes and helicopters, whose pilots faced “great danger” with limited visibility and air turbulence.

The coastguard has evacuated more than 2,000 people and another 349 were taken to safety early on Sunday. Authorities said that more than 570 firefighters are battling the blaze in Evia.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on a briefing at the Fire Brigade’s Athens headquarters that efforts must continue “with great intensity to contain all fires and prevent any further rekindling.” He also expressed his gratitude to the personnel of the Fire Brigade, the Hellenic Coast Guard, the police, and the volunteers who have been battling the fires across the country.

Mitsotakis said he wanted to “assure anew all those afflicted by the fires that their recovery will be my first political priority.”

Wildfires have devastated large areas in southern Europe for a fortnight as the region endures its most extreme heatwave in three decades.


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