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Greece Fire: Strong winds push flames towards villages; hundreds evacuated by ferry

Wildfires are continuing to rip through the Greek island of Evia with strong winds driving flames towards villages.

More than 2,000 people have already been evacuated from the island, many of those by ferry.

A number of wildfires have struck the country in recent days. One blaze in the northern suburb of Athens is said to have subsided.




Greece is experiencing its most severe heatwave in 30 years in which temperatures have spiked to 45°C.

Heatwaves such as this are becoming more likely and more extreme because of human-induced climate change. The subsequent hot, dry weather is likely to fuel wildfires.

On Evia, two fire fronts have destroyed thousands of hectares of land, along with a number of houses and businesses.



Giannis Kontzias, mayor of the municipality of Istiaia in the northern part of Evia told local news: "It's already too late, the area has been destroyed."

He appealed for more help from water-bombing planes and helicopters.

But Civil Protection Chief Nikos Hardalias said water-bombing planes faced a number of difficulties including poor visibility caused by the fires.

A number of countries have responded to Greece's call for help including France, Germany and the UK.

Late on Sunday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed his "heartfelt gratitude" to countries that had sent assistance.

"We thank you for standing by Greece during these trying times," he wrote on Twitter.

Elsewhere in Greece, fires in the Peloponnese region are said to be stable and fires in the northern Athens suburb have subsided.

The military are patrolling the area amid concerns that the fire could re-start.




TURKEY FIRE

Turkey is also battling a series of wildfires, which have been labelled the worst in the country's history.

Eight people have died and thousands have been forced to flee their homes.

The country's Agriculture and Forestry Minister Pakdemirli said on Saturday that 217 fires had been contained and six were said to be ongoing.