Greece braced for a new wave of rising temperatures on Tuesday, as forest fires broke out on two popular tourist islands.
In the capital city of Athens the mercury is expected to rise to 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit), and reach 44C in central Greece, according to national weather forecaster EMY.
The scorching weather comes after a weekend of extreme heat and after thousands of locals and tourists fled forest fires in Rhodes and Corfu, with the prime minister warning that the heat-hit country was “fighting” the flames.
The mercury hit 46.4C in Gythio, in the southern part of the Peloponnese peninsula on Sunday, although it failed to reach the country’s hottest temperature on record of 48C.
Authorities evacuated nearly 2,500 people from the Greek island of Corfu on Monday, after thousands of people fled fires on the island of Rhodes, with many terrified tourists scrambling to get home on evacuation flights.
More than 260 firefighters are still battling the blaze for the eighth consecutive day in Rhodes, supported by two helicopters and two planes.
Fires also continue on Greece’s second-largest island of Evia, where Greek civil protection authorities issued an overnight evacuation order for a northern locality.
“We are at war and exclusively directed to the front of the fire,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament on Monday.
He warned that the country faced “another three difficult days ahead” before high temperatures were predicted to ease.
Vassilis Kikilias, Greece’s civil protection minister, said crews had battled more than 500 fires across the country for 12 consecutive days.
Several regions of the country were on “red alert” on Tuesday, meaning there is a greater risk of forest fires, exacerbated by strong winds.
© 2023 AFP
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