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Global wildfires: Hundreds evacuated in Greece

August 8, 2021

Blazes have destroyed forests in Greece and left families homeless, but the outlook is more mixed in Turkey due to rain in hard-hit areas. Follow DW for the latest.

Wildfires in Greece
The fires have devastated areas in the outskirts of AthensImage: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

Massive wildfires continued to rage across parts of Europe and the United States on Saturday. 

In Greece, firefighters battled the flames for a fifth day, with thousands of people being forced to evacuate. The blazes, which began on Tuesday, were triggered by the country's worst heat wave in more than 30 years. 

A top Greek official said there were 55 fires across the country on Saturday.

The flames devoured wooded areas in a national park north of Athens, with 39 villages also evacuated on the island of Evia. The fires have ravaged homes and businesses, in addition to killing animals.

Two people have died, including a volunteer firefighter, with 20 people receiving hospital treatment.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressed the situation while visiting the fire department headquarters in Athens. He said procuring assistance for the victims of the fires would be his "first political priority."

"When this nightmarish summer has passed, we will turn all our attention to repairing the damage as fast as possible, and in restoring our natural environment again," the Greek leader said.

News agency dpa reported Saturday that Germany is mobilizing firefighters and emergency vehicles to help Greece battle the flames.

Here's a look at the latest wildfire developments in other parts of the world.


Rain brought relief to some areas of Turkey, as more than 5,000 firefighters fought the blazes for the 11th day in a row. 

Authorities managed to get the flames under control in southwestern Antalya province after the rainfall.

In neighboring Mugla province, firefighters battled the fires in the provincial capital, which shares the same name.

Five areas were burning near Mugla city, with residents of three neighborhoods being forced to evacuate.

Turkish Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli tweeted Saturday that over 200 fires have impacted 47 of the country's 81 provinces.

At least eight people have died from the fires, along with many animals. One tortoise in Mugla, however, was unscathed from the blazes after being rescued by aid workers.


More than 250 fires were burning in Russia on Saturday, with the northeastern region of Siberia most impacted by the flames. 

Eight regions have declared a state of emergency. The northeastern Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) witnessed 93 fires across 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres) of land.

The fires, which are considered the worst in a century for the region, have been blamed on climate change.

A 2007 decision by the Russian government to dissolve a federal aviation network dedicated to fighting the fires has also been criticized for the worsening situation. The assets from the federal network were turned over to regional authorities.

United States

Flames have ravaged parts of northern California, with authorities saying Saturday that eight people are missing.

The Dixie Fire has become California's largest single wildfire in state history and threatens over 10,000 buildings in the Sierra Nevada region. 

Although the fire continues to expand, milder weather in the area has been a relief for firefighters tackling the blazes.

Earlier this week, the fire almost completely decimated the historic Gold Rush town of Greenville.

The separate River Fire also threatened Placer County in northern California, along with parts of neighboring Nevada. Much of the River Fire has been contained.

wd/sms (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)