Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Fires for Greece and Cyprus highlighted the heatwave


People have been forced to evacuate their homes as fires hit areas of Paphos in Cyprus, where a temperature warning is in place for temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius. Two firefighting aircraft were sent from Greece to help fight the fires.

The first heat warning of the summer in Greece was issued as a 4.9 magnitude earthquake struck Rhodes. The heat warning was issued on Wednesday by the Greek weather service until 8pm yesterday (Thursday). Temperatures were expected to reach up to 43C in much of central and southern Greece, including greater Athens, the Cyclades islands and Crete.

Vassilis Kikilias, the minister responsible for civil protection, said Thursday posed a particular wildfire risk due to the combination of high temperatures and winds. The Foreign Office last updated its travel advice for the country a month ago.

It currently says: “There are active wildfires across Greece, including in populated areas on the mainland and a number of islands. Wildfires are highly dangerous and unpredictable. The situation can change quickly.”

The Foreign Office has not changed its travel advice for Cyprus but points out that “forest fires and wildfires often occur during the summer months due to dry and hot weather”.

The EU has established a fleet of 32 aerial firefighting aircraft and 556 firefighters, pre-positioned across Europe as part of “preparedness measures” for the wildfire season.

Commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarcic, said: “I thank Greece for its quick response to assisting Cyprus in fighting the wildfires in the Paphos region by deploying two firefighting aircraft. This is EU solidarity in practice.”

The EU’s emergency response co-ordination centre is closely monitoring the situation “and stands ready to provide additional assistance upon request”.

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