The Greek government has urged people to stay alert as temperatures hover above 40C (107F) for the third day in a row and firefighters work endlessly to extinguish blazes on the islands and mainland.
In the latest of many warnings delivered by the Greek government over the last week, Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias called on citizens to remain on watch as the “extreme” weather conditions persist. “We should remain on alert. We should avoid any – but any – activity that could cause a fire,” he noted.
Hardalias said that a blaze which started on Tuesday near Athens had damaged more than 90 homes, 27 businesses, and burned more than 80 cars. Residents of the Greek capital were told to stay indoors as thick smoke clouds engulfed the area.
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On Wednesday, firefighters said they hoped to bring a wildfire in the Athens suburbs of Varympompi and Tatoi under control “in the coming hours.” More than 500 firefighters were involved in the effort, according to Al Jazeera reports.
Speaking during a visit to a fire brigade coordination center in Varympompi on Wednesday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he was grateful for the efforts of the emergency services. “Thank God we haven’t had any loss of human life so far.”
On Tuesday, 95 firemen, 35 fire engines, and five aircraft were drafted to fight a blaze on the island of Evia, the second largest of the Greek islands, which sits just 70 km (44 miles) from Athens.
The fire brigade said they were expecting reinforcements from Cyprus.
The government has issued numerous warnings, calling on people to be careful amid the worst heatwave in decades. On Monday, Mitsotakis asked citizens to minimize electricity usage to avoid overburdening the power grid.
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