• In Greece, Drought-Fueled Wildfires Kill Dozens

    Date:25 July 2018 Author: Brendon Petersen Tags:,

    Wildfires raging near Athens, Greece have killed dozens of people, in one of the deadliest blazes in recent history. High winds and extreme temperatures have pushed the fires further than most believed possible, catching tourists and residents off guard. Officials say that so far, at least 49 people have been killed, with at least 172 injured and 15 missing.

    “Unfortunately, at this stage, we do not expect to find more people injured, only more dead,” said Miltiades Milonas, vice president of the Greek ambulance service, to The New York Times.

    GREECE-FIRE

    GETTY IMAGES / ANGELOS TZORTZINIS

    The charred remains of cars left behind by those fleeing the blaze.

    
    

    Since Monday morning, a total of 47 fires have broken out in the area surrounding Athens, including in the cities of Rafina and Kineta, located 15 miles east and 30 miles west of Athens respectively. Firefighting crews are reporting that all but four of those fires have since been extinguished.

    To combat the blazes, more than 600 firefighters along with the entire country’s fleet of water-dropping aircraft have been deployed, although Greece is requesting additional help from the European Union.

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    GETTY IMAGES / VALERIE GACHE

    A firefighter confronts a blaze Monday in Kineta.

    
    

    As the fires spread across the country, they’ve consumed entire towns and villages, leaving nothing but smoking ruins behind them. The fires are spreading quickly enough that they have cut off numerous roads, highways, and other escape routes from these towns, leaving many people trapped.

    Some residents attempted to escape by sea, fleeing into the water by trying to swim or sail to safety. Greece’s Coast Guard says it has recovered the bodies of four people who drowned trying to escape this way.

    Fire breaks out in Penteli town of Athens

    GETTY IMAGES / ANADOLU AGENCY

    A firefighting plane drops water over the town of Penteli.

    
    

    These wildfires are more severe than usual because of a drought and recent heat wave, both made worse by the effects of climate change. Many parts of the world are suffering similarly: Japan is in the midst of the worst heatwave in its history, with over 60 recorded dead, and wildfires have broken out in Sweden amidst a similar heatwave and drought.

    Rising global temperatures make these conditions much more likely, which means disasters of this type are likely only to get worse.

    Source: The New York Times

     

    Originally published on Popular Mechanics USA

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