Major Fire Near Athens Contained But Europe’s Heat Wave Keeps Authorities On Alert


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s Fire Service intensified water drops west of Athens where a huge blaze was contained overnight, as authorities braced Thursday for a new round of extreme weather.

Seven firefighting planes and nine helicopters were operating in the area, including four planes sent from Italy and France as part of a European Union support mechanism.

Searing heat across Europe’s Mediterranean south has maintained a high or very high risk of fires in Spain, Italy and Greece.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the Fire Service and civil protection authority would remain on alert as a new heat wave moved eastward across Greece. Temperatures are expected to reach 113 degrees Fahrenheit Sunday.

“The hard times are clearly not over yet,” Mitsotakis said. “We are facing another heat wave and a possible strengthening of the winds. So, absolute vigilance and absolute readiness are required over the next few days.”

A state of emergency was declared Thursday on the island of Rhodes, where evacuation orders were issued for several mountain areas.

In Spain, a 42-year-old Moroccan man died from a heat-related issue on Wednesday, Spain’s public news agency EFE said on Thursday. The agency said that the man collapsed on a street in the region of Murcia, in Spain’s southeast.

Temperatures in Murcia peaked at 111 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday. Malaga hit 111 degrees Fahrenheit, matching an all-time record for the southern coastal city, Spain’s weather service said.

Temperatures are forecast to fall on Friday before rising again on Sunday, when Spaniards are called to cast ballots in a national election.


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