Greece wildfires leave blackened forests in their wake

Greece wildfires leave blackened forests in their wake

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Abandoned cars were left charred after flames swept through the forest

Fires have been raging through a "unique, untouched pine forest" on the Greek island of Evia as authorities fight to keep the flames under control.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from nearby villages as the fire broke out in the early hours of Tuesday and ravaged the dense forest.

"It's a huge ecological disaster," acting regional governor Kostas Bakoyannis told AFP.

More than 200 firefighters are helping to combat the blaze along with 75 fire engines, nine helicopters and seven planes, the news agency reports.

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Media captionWatch how flames tore through an untouched pine forest

Italy and Spain have offered additional aircraft to help dump water on the forests, in an attempt to douse the flames on Greece's second-largest island.

Other wildfires broke out on the island of Thassos, as well as in the central region of Viotia and the Peloponnese. There was also a fire reported in Peania, a suburb of Athens.

Smoke has blanketed Athens, 110km (70 miles) from the island.

Through the branches of a tree, an aeroplane can be seen flying through smoke to drop water in an attempt to smother the blaze Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A plane flies through the smoke rising from the trees to drop water to try to smother the blaze
A house falls apart as flames rip through it Image copyright EPA
Image caption A house is torn apart by flames after residents were evacuated
A firefighting helicopter dropping water over a forest to calm the flames Image copyright AFP
Image caption Firefighting helicopters have been dropping water over the pine trees

The fire broke out after a weekend that saw temperatures soaring near 40C (104F) with strong winds.

Newly-elected Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis cancelled his summer holiday plans and acknowledged that firefighters had "given their all" to tackle the flames, often with little sleep and food.

The regional governor, Costas Bakoyannis, told Skai TV the situation seemed to be improving after "superhuman efforts" to control the flames on Tuesday night.

The European Union's humanitarian commissioner, Christos Stylianides, said it "remains difficult", but suggested they might be able to "to limit the ecological losses".

Greece was devastated by wildfires in 2018 that tore through pine forests surrounding Athens, leaving 100 people dead.

Beehives sit amongst the charred woodland on the island of Evia Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Beehives sit amongst the charred woodland on the island of Evia
Smoke rises from a blackened road leading through a forest ravaged by fire Image copyright AFP
Image caption Smoke rises from a blackened road leading through a forest ravaged by fire
A lone tree-trunk remains on fire amid a blackened blackened forest following a fire Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The trunk of a tree continues to burn amid the blackened forest

All pictures copyright.

More on last year's wildfires

  • Why wildfires are breaking out in the 'wrong' countries
  • In pictures: Wildfires devastate Greek region
  • ‘Hundreds went into the sea’

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