Athens/Rome/Ankara, Aug 10 (EFE).- Wildfires across countries in the eastern Mediterreanean persisted on Tuesday with the most serious one currently burning on the Greek island of Euboea.
The Italian region of Calabria is also experiencing worrying fires while Turkey is starting to control the fires as the country experiences its first heat wave of the year.
Temperatures across Turkey are expected to reach 45 degrees Celsius while firefighters continue to battle with blazes that have devastated thousands of hectares or land and forced the evacuation of towns and villages.
In Greece, residents of affected areas are urging the government to respond to the emergency with more resources as the country faces its worst environmental disaster to date.
AERIAL RESOURCES, THE MAJOR SHORTCOMING IN GREECE
On the Greek island of Euboea, flames devastated pine forests and crops on the country’s second largest island due to the lack of aerial resources.
On Tuesday night, residents resorted to using their own hoses, blankets and stubble to stop the fire from advancing into their homes, invigorating frustration towards the government’s lack of support.
Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologized on Monday for any “weakness” in the management of the crisis, and assured that responsibilities would be clarified once the fire is under control.
The over 500 fires that have devastated some 90,000 hectares across Greece in the past week have brought to light a number of shortcomings in firefighters, airplanes and helicopters.
ITALY FOCUSES EFFORTS ON CALABRIA, APULIA AND SICILY
Dozens of fires are still active in southern Italy, the most worrying in the Aspromonte area in the Calabria region where fires threaten the ‘Ancient Forests,’ a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“The phenomenon of forest fires is especially felt in the southern regions and, in particular, in Apulia, Calabria and Sicily, affected by strong heat waves as is happening in neighboring Greece. There are about 70 fires in progress,” said Marco Di Fonzo, commander of the Carabinieri Fire Protection Information Unit.
So far this year, 102,933 hectares of land have burned in Italy, an area the size of 140,000 soccer fields, according to European Commission official data.
TURKEY CLOSER TO BRINGING SITUATION UNDER CONTROL
After consecutive days of battling fires in more than 50 provinces across the country, Turkish emergency authorities on Tuesday battled to control two fires on the Aegean coast.
Efforts are concentrated in the areas around Milas and Köycegiz, where the fires have persisted for ten days.
In the last 13 days, 268 out of 270 fires in 53 provinces of the country have been brought under control.
The Balkan region is also fighting fires, which in recent days have affected the southern Bosnian area of Tomislavgrad, as well as the Croatian area of Trnovice, where flames burned 1,700 hectares of grass and growing vegetation.
On Tuesday, Bosnia-Herzegovina battled an out-of-control fire in Stolac, in the southeast of the Balkan country, after high temperatures and winds reignited the fire. EFE