For the fifth consecutive day, the blazing wildfire continues to affect Southern Turkey and has claimed eight lives. Meanwhile, the blazes have also hit Greece, Italy, and Spain.
Amid soaring temperatures and strong winds that have been triggering the fire, dozens of villages across prime tourist hotspots have been evacuated and as many as 540 residents have been taken by the sea, as reported by Agence France Presse.
Turkey is suffering its worst fires in at least a decade with nearly 95,000 hectares (235,000 acres) burnt so far this year, compared with an average of 13,516 at the same point in the years between 2008 and 2020. According to EU figures, Turkey has been hit by 133 wildfires in 2021 so far compared with an average of 43 by this point in the years between 2008 and 2020.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticised after it emerged that Turkey has no firefighting planes even though one-third of its territory is forested and fires are becoming increasingly frequent.
Meanwhile, a major fire broke out early Saturday near Patras in the western Greece.
“Five villages have been evacuated and eight people were hospitalised with burns and respiratory problems in the region, which remains on alert,” AFP reported.
“The seaside resort of Loggos was also evacuated, with nearly 100 residents and tourists sent to the nearby city of Aigio,” he added.
According to EU data, 13,500 hectares had been burnt in Greece, compared with an average of 7,500 at this point in the year from 2008-20.
In Italy, fires burned nearly 20,000 hectares of forest, olive groves and crops in Sardinia last weekend. More than 800 flare-ups were recorded this weekend, mainly in the south, Italy’s fire brigade was reported by AFP.
“In the last 24 hours, firefighters have carried out more than 800 interventions: 250 in Sicily, 130 in Puglia and Calabria, 90 in Lazio and 70 in Campania,” the brigade tweeted.
While the south of Italy has been burning, the north has suffered wild storms.
On the other hand, in Spain, dozens of firefighters backed by water-dropping aircraft were battling a wildfire that broke out Saturday afternoon near the San Juan reservoir, about 70 kilometres (40 miles) east of Madrid.
“Firefighters said Sunday they had managed to stabilise the blaze overnight but local authorities urged people to stay away from the reservoir, a popular bathing spot for residents of the Spanish capital,” the report added.