Firefighters tackle blazes on Greek islands as premier warns of ‘dangerous summer’

Firefighters were racing to tackle wildfires that broke out on the eastern Aegean islands of Chios and Kos Monday, as Greece’s prime minister warned of a dangerous summer ahead and said the public’s help was essential in limiting the impact of wildfires.

Emergency services issued evacuation orders for those in the Metohi area of western Chios, urging them to head to a nearby beach.

Further to the south in the Aegean, on the island of Kos, the fire department said 20 firefighters, a helicopter and volunteers were tackling a brush fire that broke out in the centre of the island.

The blazes come a day after the fire department managed to tame two large forest fires near Athens that had been fanned by strong winds.

“We have had an exceptionally difficult June regarding weather conditions, with high levels of drought and unusually strong winds for this season,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Monday during a Cabinet meeting.

This year’s summer, he said, “is predicted to be particularly dangerous” for wildfires.

Mitsotakis said the use of drones as part of an early warning system for wildfires had been particularly useful this year and credited better coordination between authorities and volunteer firefighters for limiting the extent of fire damage so far.

“We are entering the tough core of the anti-fire period, and this will certainly not be won without the help of the public as well, particularly in the field of prevention,” Mitsotakis said.

Hot, dry weather combined with strong winds helped fan fires in both Greece and Turkey last month. This year’s summer expected to be particularly prone to blazes in following a particularly mild, dry winter. Last year, extensive wildfires in Greece killed more than 20 people.

– AP

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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