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Heat in southern and western Europe: fires rage in northern Athens

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Status: 07/20/2022 10:23 a.m.

In many parts of Europe, it has not yet been possible to extinguish forest fires. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated to northern Athens. Firefighters are also battling flames in Tuscany.

The authorities in Greece reported 39 new fire sources in 24 hours. In the northeast of Athens, the flames penetrated inhabited areas and destroyed many houses. According to public broadcasters, three firefighters and nine residents were lightly injured and taken to hospital with respiratory problems. Seven towns and a children’s hospital were evacuated.

As a fire department spokesman announced, nine firefighting planes and seven firefighting helicopters were deployed against the flames at first light. Additionally, the crews of 120 fire trucks are deployed to prevent the fires from spreading to the villages of Penteli, Pallini, Anthousa and Gerakas. Extinguishing work is made more difficult because there is no fire front. Countless fires are raging in the forested area as well as in residential areas of towns around Mount Penteli in northeast Athens, the public TV channel reported.

Parts of the highway closed

Thick, brownish clouds of smoke could be seen from almost every part of Athens. Due to limited visibility, parts of the highway linking Athens to its airport had to be temporarily closed.

The fire started on Tuesday afternoon for unknown reasons and was initially small, eyewitnesses said. In a very short time, high winds fanned it into a major fire. In the summer of 2021, huge fires broke out in the area under Mount Penteli, northeast of Athens.

Firefighters were on duty nationwide for 117 wildfires. The Greek government summoned a crisis team and asked for help from other European countries.

Firefighters in Western and Southern Europe continue to fight wildfires

Tagesschau 09:00, 20.7.2022

Settlements in Tuscany under threat

In Italy In Tuscany, more than 100 firefighters are trying to contain a major forest fire near the city of Lucca. About 500 residents of the Massarosa municipality area were brought to safety, firefighters said.

Video from the night showed the flames blazing near a settlement and devouring trees. Regional President Eugenio Giani tweeted that some gas tanks had exploded. Some sides of the fire front would have stretched due to high winds. Four firefighting aircraft and a helicopter are supporting firefighting from the air. The operation has been ongoing since last Sunday.

Highest alert level in all of Italy

On the Italian-Slovenian border, extinguishing work continued because of a forest fire. According to firefighters, an area of ​​​​the municipality of Doberdò, south of Gorizia (Gorizia), was affected. Rescuers say the situation is improving.

Firefighters have been working in Italy for weeks to put out forest and bush fires. On the tourist islands of Sicily and Sardinia, the alert level for forest fires is higher, sometimes the highest. The fires often spread quickly due to the drought that has lasted for some time and are fanned by the winds.

Fires also in France, Spain and Portugal

Also in the southwest of France Firefighters continue to try to contain the widespread wildfires. In the wine region of Gironde, the emergency services recorded the biggest fire for more than 30 years. There alone, 19,000 hectares of forest have been destroyed so far and around 37,000 residents and holidaymakers have had to be brought to safety as a precaution. A man suspected of arson has been arrested.

In Spain firefighters and helpers battled more than 30 wildfires. More than 6,000 people from 32 villages in the northwest had to leave their homes.

In Portugal the weather service warned that 50 communities, particularly in the north and center of the country, could be overrun by fireworks. In addition to heat, experts have also warned of increased ozone pollution.

the situation remains tense

Even today, Germany and other European countries are facing extreme heat. After the hottest day this year in Germany was measured on Tuesday in Emsdetten in North Rhine-Westphalia with 40 degrees Celsius, the German Weather Service (DWD) warned of similar temperatures further east.

At least 12 injured in a violent fire in Athens

Verena Schälter, ARD Athens, 20.7.2022 09:02

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Source www.tagesschau.de

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