Greek summer wildfires will burn over 150,000 hectares: PM
August 31, 2023 05:40 PM
Fires in Greece this summer will burn an area of at least 150,000 hectares (370,600 acres), the Greek prime minister said Thursday, including a large blaze in the north which has been burning for nearly two weeks.
Greece has been ravaged by deadly wildfires this summer, with the ravaged area amounting to just under the size of London, according to the premier.
The area burned by fires "will exceed 1,500,000,000 square metres (150,000 hectares) including the fire in the Dadia forest", said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, referring to the forest fire that the EU has branded the largest ever recorded in the bloc.
Firefighters have been battling the flames currently burning in northeastern Greece for 13 days.
Since it began on August 19, the blaze has claimed the lives of 20 people, 18 of them migrants whose bodies were found in a region that is often used as an entry point from neighbouring Turkey.
A European Commission spokesman said Tuesday that the forest blaze is "the largest wildfire ever recorded in the EU" and the bloc is mobilising nearly half its firefighting air wing to tackle it.
The EU currently calls on a fleet of 28 aircraft -- 24 water-dumping planes and four helicopters -- supplied by member countries to help battle blazes in the bloc and in nearby neighbours.