Wildfires in Greece: latest news, shocking photos and videos

A large forest fire broke out in Greece near Athens on July 23. A fire quickly became unmanageable and spread rapidly into inhabited areas. More than 80 people have died and hundreds more were injured. The death toll is unfortunately likely to rise. More than 100 people still missing.

Where are the fires in Greece?

The fires broke out in the highly populated Attica peninsula in Greece. Smoke from the wildfire was seen even over the capital’s Parthenon temple, on top of Acropolis Hill. The wildfires spread at a speed that surprised many to the west and east of Athens – one near the town of Kineta and another to the port of Rafina – trapping hundreds on beaches and cutting off escape routes. The most devastating blazes occurred in Mati – a popular seaside tourist destination, about 30 kilometers east of Athens. The fire also reached the cities of Pikermi, Neos, as well as the slopes of the Mount Pendeli.

How many dead and injured?

At least 81 people of all ages up to now died and search teams fear they will find further victims as many more are missing. 187 people were taken to hospital with injuries, among those 23 children. Many of the victims were caught by rescue workers close to the cliff as the flames spread rapidly, whipped up by strong winds.

The coastal resort of Mati was most severely affected by the wildfires. Bodies of 26 people were found dead in one of the villas here. Greece has declared three days of mourning for victims of the fire.

What caused the fire and why it spread so quickly?

Wildfires are common in Greece during hot and dry summers, but are typically low intensity. This fire was the worst in Greece since 2007, when record-high temperatures led to a series of blazes across the country killing at least 73 people.

Meteorologists reported on Sunday, July 22, that Greece was hit by a heatwave, and temperatures rose as high as 40 degrees Celsius. The strong winds, which reached 120 km/h, were one of the strongest recorded in the last eight years. As a result, the conditions were already in place for wildfires to take hold.

However, some Greek officials do not reject that arson may have caused the wildfires, AFP reports. Officials citing information from satellite maps have said that 15 fires broke out at the same time across the region of Attica.

What are the consequences of a fire?

The fires left lines of cars torched, charred farms and forests, and sent hundreds of local people and tourists racing to beaches, where coast guard vessels and fishing boats were evacuating them.

Greece’s Ministry of Defence has released aerial footage showing devastating results of the fire. On this video you can see whole blocks of burnt buildings and large destroyed areas of forests. On some streets you can see dozens of scorched cars.

Now Greece has been hit by devastating flash floods while recovering from its deadliest wildfires in history. Heavy summer rainstorms over the past two days have caused flooding in several parts of Greece.


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