NewsWorldWildfire tears through villages on Evia island, Greece reaches sea

Wildfire tears through villages on Evia island, Greece reaches sea

A rapidly moving wildfire on the Greek island of Evia tore through dense pine forests on Wednesday (August 4) causing residents to flee and leaving gutted buildings in its wake.

The fire, worsened by changing winds, forced authorities to evacuate nearly a dozen villages as it made it way down to the sea, burning homes, trees and an olive press at the seaside village of Rovies, about 175 kilometres north of Athens.

A man without protective gear tried to put out the blaze at the olive press with a garden hose as parts of the roof fell off and flames surrounded him.

Coast guard vessels picked up at least 50 people from a beach close to Rovies who were cut off by the fire and transferred them to a ferry, according to officials.

Greece is facing its most severe heatwave in 30 years, and the risk remained high for the next few days in most parts of the country, authorities said.

Temperatures surpassed 40 degrees Celsius (107 Fahrenheit) for the third day.

Fires were also burning in Halkidiki in northern Greece, the Peloponnese, in the regions of Messinia and Mani, and in Ilia, close to Ancient Olympia, which was the site of the first Olympic Games. A dozen villages around the site and museum were evacuated.

Reinforcements arrived from Cyprus, and firefighters from France and two aircraft from Sweden were expected by Thursday, a Civil Protection Authority spokesperson said.

Fires near the town of Varympompi, north of the capital, damaged scores of buildings and destroyed more than 80 cars after breaking out on Tuesday, and caused a thick cloud of smoke hung over the city.

Europe has been experiencing extreme weather this summer, from heavy flooding in the north to severe heatwaves and fires in parts of the Mediterranean, with Turkey hit by its most intense blazes on record.

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