Wildfire threat: Greece on ‘red alert’

Persistent heat and wind, with more of it arriving over the weekend, spurred the Greek civil protection service to raise the wildfire threat alert to the highest level on Friday.

The potential for fires is particularly high in central Greece, on the Peloponnese and in the Athens area, the service said in announcing it was going to a “red alert.”

Meteorologists have forecast temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius for the coming days.

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Greece frequently faces forest and brush fires which rapidly spread through the bone-dry vegetation, while the difficult, mountainous terrain and wind complicates controlling the blaze.

The fires are often started by careless people: a glowing cigarette butt, a spark from a grill or the burning of weeds – which is carried out in the summer in spite of a ban – were enough to start fires in the past.

In July 2018, more than 100 people died and thousands of homes were destroyed and damaged by a fast-spreading fire in the Athens area.

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