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Greece devastated by forest fires: – stressful

Greece devastated by forest fires: – stressful

ATHENS (VG) Forest fires have caused fear in Greece for a week. Now they have become the largest in the entire history of the European Union.


– It’s stressful. There are a lot of fires.

Panagiotis Papadopoulos, 33, is surrounded by burning forests, and his voice is hard to hear because firefighting helicopters hover just a few dozen meters above his head.

The fires are barely stopping around him, but he and hundreds of other firefighters continue to fight the blaze that is creeping into the hillsides outside the capital, Athens.

– And he continues, saying: – I only slept for one hour.

There were hundreds of fires ravaging Greece last week, while high temperatures and strong winds made rescue efforts difficult.

Greek authorities say many of the wildfires may have been set by pyromaniacs, or created by people’s negligence.

A total of 79 people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the fires.

Meanwhile, human-caused climate changes mean that wildfires around the world are becoming more dangerous.

Increasing temperatures, prolonged heat waves, strong winds and unstable weather regimes make wildfires now more often stronger and more difficult to control.

This joins a series of extreme weather events this summer that have caused fear and unrest among Norway’s top climate scientists.

Forest fires in Greece sent huge amounts of smoke into the country and towards the Mediterranean Sea, as seen from space.

Some of the strongest fires are raging in the northeast of the country, in the Evros region.

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It is an area with large expanses of forest, but also a place where thousands of desperate refugees and migrants are trying to cross to reach safety in Europe.

Also, 18 charred bodies were found in this area, which the Greek authorities believe are of fleeing migrants.

In this area, more than 730 square kilometers have burned, and EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic stated that “this is now the largest forest fire the EU has ever seen”.

On Tuesday, 65 patients at the University Hospital in Alexandroupolis were evacuated as a result of an approaching fire.

– I’ve worked for 27 years and I’ve never seen anything like this, says nurse Nikos Geoktsidis, according to NTB news agency.

Stretchers everywhere, patients here, intravenous injections there. “It’s like war, as if a bomb exploded,” he continues.

Some patients were so ill that they were hooked up with intravenous fluids while being transported on ships that took them to safety.

In response to the forest fires, the European Union sent five planes and a helicopter, as well as firefighters from Romania.

This is not the first time forest fires have ravaged Greece this summer.

Earlier this summer, fires raged out of control on the islands of Rhodes, Corfu and Evia, as well as near Volos in central Greece.

In July, 20,000 people, mostly tourists, had to be evacuated from Rhodes.


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