New blaze hits Greece's Evia island

World Monday 23/August/2021 16:55 PM
By: DW
New blaze hits Greece's Evia island

Greece's fire department sent firefighters and aircraft to respond to a blaze that broke out on the country's second-largest island, Evia, early Monday.

The country was scorched by several wildfires earlier this month amid its most severe heat wave in decades.

The northeastern island of Evia was particularly hard-hit, with a major wildfire burning for more than 10 days in Evia's north.

What we know about the fire

Fanned by strong winds, Monday's fire broke out on the southern part of Evia.

Authorities in the village of Fygia, near the fire, have evacuated two neighborhoods.

The blaze was moving toward the coastal tourist village of Marmari. The Athens News Agency reported that Marmari authorities have boats on standby to evacuate people if needed.

The Greek fire brigade said it sent dozens of firefighters, more than 20 fire engines, and water-dropping airplanes and helicopters to Evia.

The fire was contained after several hours, the fire department said.

A heat wave turned into inferno

August began with Greece's most severe heat wave in decades and turned into one of the country's most destructive fire seasons.

The fires forced thousands of people to flee as forests, agricultural land, homes and businesses burned.

Greece's fire capabilities have been stretched to the limit, and the government, which appealed for international help, has received sharp criticism for its response.

Although the government has blamed the disaster on the heat wave, Citizens Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis announced that a special prosecutor for organized crime cases was involved in a probe into the causes of the fires.

Authorities have already arrested a dozen people, including a 14-year-old boy, on suspicion of arson.

Scientists say there is little doubt that climate change will increasingly drive extreme weather and contribute to more devastating fire seasons.