Eighteen bodies were found Tuesday in an isolated rural area in northeastern Greece where a forest fire had been burning for days. Local authorities agree that migrants crossing the border between Turkey and Greece are victims.
“As residents of nearby areas are missing, inquiries are being made as to whether the victims entered the country illegally,” the fire department in the region said. Search operations are continuing in the area where the fire broke out.
The remains of the victims were found on the outskirts of Thadiya National Park, where another person was already found dead on Monday night. One death was reported in the Boeotia region of central Greece. At least 20 people have already died in the second wave of fires in August.
Greek firefighters battled 14 active fire fronts this Tuesday, made difficult by strong winds and high temperatures close to 40ºC in many areas. “It’s a similar situation to July,” a fire department spokesman told AFP news agency, adding that the previous wave of fires claimed five lives.
The flames are spreading in the north-eastern parts of the country, on the island of Euboea and Kythnos, near Athens and in the central part of Boeotia.
On Monday night, orders were given to evacuate a hospital in the port city of Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece, which was destroyed by fire four days ago. All the people in the hospital were evacuated safely.
On the island of Euboea, the industrial town of Nia Artaki was evacuated, where fires damaged poultry and pig farms.
According to Yiannis Artopioos, a spokesman for the Greek fire brigade, there have been 65 forest fires in the country in the last 24 hours alone, with various fronts advancing in the regions of Attica and Evros, where the Tatia forest is located.
In the last three days, between August 19 and 21, more than 160,000 hectares burned in Greece. Of this area, 150,000 hectares are located in the northeast of the country, according to estimates from the National Laboratory of Athens.
Warmer and drier conditions, increasing fire risk, will continue into next Friday, according to the weather service.
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