Forest and bush fires broke out again in Greece on Saturday. A particularly large fire raged on Saturday in a rural area near the port city of Alexandroupolis in the north-east of the country - there the citizens of several villages and settlements were called on by emergency SMS to be ready for a possible evacuation.
In the afternoon, eight towns were evacuated for the time being. The nearby freeway had to be closed due to heavy smoke. Seven fire-fighting aircraft and two helicopters as well as 31 fire-fighting trains were deployed.
There was also a fire near the metropolis of Thessaloniki on Saturday afternoon, affecting the community of Langadas. On Friday alone, the fire brigade counted 44 forest and bush fires, as announced on Portal X, formerly Twitter. The Greek civil defense warned of an even higher risk of forest fires for Sunday: The danger is therefore very high in the north-west of the Peloponnese peninsula, in the Attica region around the capital Athens, on the island of Euboea and in the popular holiday region of Chalkidiki in northern Greece. Strong winds are also said to prevail in some of the affected areas on Sunday.
After a very hot July and August so far and prolonged drought in many parts of the country, a new heat wave also hit Greece on Saturday. The national weather service recorded temperatures of around 38 degrees in many areas. Next week, the thermometer is expected to rise locally to over 40 degrees. In addition, the "Meltemi" wind, which is typical for the time of year, should blow - a dry, often very strong wind from the north and north-east, which makes life difficult for firefighters in particular during their operations. Greek experts emphasize that there have been forest fires in Greece for thousands of years - but that they had not previously occurred with this intensity. Most fires are therefore caused intentionally or negligently by people. The climate change with prolonged drought and great heat then ensure that the fires spread massively, it is said.