Wildfire. Free public domain CC0 image.

On Sunday, Greek firefighters fought wildfires on the island of Lesbos for a second day, as well as fresh fires in the western Peloponnese and northern Greece, evacuating adjacent settlements as a heatwave hit.

A wildfire that began in hilly forests on Lesbos in the Aegean Sea near Turkey on Saturday, destroying buildings at the seaside resort of Vatera, was still raging on Sunday, prompting the evacuation of two more towns, Vrisa and Stavros.

A new wildfire threatened residences in Krestena, western Peloponnese, forcing the evacuation of Gryllos village.

“The flames have encircled Krestena, there are reports of damaged homes, we need help,” town council member Anastasios Karnaros told Greek network Open TV.

Temperatures in portions of Greece reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday, as a heatwave that had affected other parts of Europe extended east and was predicted to linger for the rest of the week, according to meteorologists.

A wildfire raged for a fourth day in the north of the country, ravaging a pristine forest near Dadia, a natural habitat for black vultures, as authorities fought to contain its destruction.

“We are dealing with difficult terrain and access with winds changing direction,” Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianidis said, coordinating efforts from the air and on the ground.

Vatera is a renowned tourist destination in the southern region of Lesbos, with an 8 km (five mile) long sandy beach. Six years ago, Lesbos was in the vanguard of Europe’s refugee crisis. The fire destroyed residences and injured one firefighter.

This year marks Greece’s second consecutive summer of wildfires.

Last week, a wildfire in the mountains outside Athens destroyed homes and forced hundreds of people to leave, with authorities describing this summer as one of the most difficult in the Mediterranean.

During Greece’s worst heatwave in 30 years last year, wildfires burned roughly 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and scrub.

Source: Reuters

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