A huge wall of flames moved through the woods at night toward a port city in northeastern Greecewhich forced the authorities to evacuate eight other towns and an urban hospital as firefighters battled dozens more fires across the country on Tuesday.
Gale-force winds and high summer temperatures have hampered the efforts of hundreds of firefighters backed by dozens of water-dropping aircraft to fight the fires that have broken out in various parts of Greece.
The level of fire risk in several regions, including the Athens area, was considered “extreme” for the second day in a row on Tuesday. Authorities banned public access to mountains and forests in those regions until at least Wednesday morning and ordered military patrols.
two people died Monday and two firefighters were injured in fires in the north and center of the country.
Some 65 of the more than 100 patients at the Alexandroupoli hospital, in northeastern Greece, were transferred to a ferry moored in the city’s port as the country’s biggest fire burned uncontrollably for a fourth day. Others were transferred to other hospitals in northern Greece.
Flames dyed the sky over the region red, blotting out the sun behind choking smoke as flakes of ash drifted through the air.
A school, several houses and a cemetery were damaged in two towns near Alexandroupoli, where more than 200 firefighters were fighting the fire with the support of four planes and three helicopters. Another fire in the region of Kavála damaged dozens of homes, according to local authorities, while the fire in the border region of evros It was moving through forests in a protected national park.
The coast guard evacuated 14 people by sea overnight from a coastal area near the port of Alexandroupoli.
On Tuesday morning a new fire started in the area of Aspropyrgoson the western outskirts of the Greek capital, which forced the evacuation of two nearby towns.
Romania sent 56 firefighters and Cyprus provided two water dumping aircraft to help fight the fire in Alexandroupoli, while French firefighters helped with another fire on the island of Evia.
Greece suffers destructive fires every summer. The deadliest left 104 deaths in 2018, in a coastal resort near Athens where the population had not received notice to evacuate. Since then, the authorities have opted for caution and issued expedited mass evacuation orders whenever inhabited areas are threatened.
Last month, a fire on the resort island of Rhodes forced to evacuate 20,000 tourists. Days later, two air force pilots were killed when his water-dropping plane crashed during a low-altitude flight to fight a fire in Evia. This summer there have been another three deaths associated with the fires.
(With information from AP)
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