An emergency cabinet meeting has been called.
The blaze, which has been burning for the past three days in Alexandroupolis, Northeastern Greece, has now reached the Dadia Forest, a Natura-protected area and one of the most important bird habitats in Europe. The 18,000-acre forest is also a major tourist attraction welcoming over 35,000 visitors annually.
On Monday, fires fanned by gale-force winds burned areas in Viotia in the area of Prodromos, where a shepherd was found dead and a campground evacuated, Rodopi, and in Psachna Evia. The northern half of Evia was nearly burnt to the ground in 2021.
According to the Hellenic Fire Service, more than 65 forest fires broke out in the last 24 hours.
“We are faced with extreme phenomena and we all need to adapt to this difficult situation. We should strictly follow the instructions of authorities and under no circumstances take actions that can cause a fire and cost human lives,” said Deputy Spokesperson for the Fire Department, Ioannis Atofios on Monday afternoon.
Greece’s Civil Protection Ministry has been issuing evacuation notices for villages in Alexandroupolis over the weekend. On Monday, a spokesperson for the Greek fire force said 13 settlements had been evacuated.
Earlier today, Greece activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to help combat the wildfires in the Alexandroupolis region.
“We are mobilizing two aircraft from Cyprus, and 12 vehicles and over 50 firefighters from Romania. In addition, one pre-deployed firefighting team from France is already operating in the area. We stand ready to provide further support,” said the European Commission earlier today.
According to the latest updated Fire Risk Map (right) released by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, three prefectures in Greece are at extreme risk (category 5) of fire on Tuesday. These are Attica, which includes the wider Athens area, Central Greece (Viotia, Evia and Fthiotida), and the Peloponnese (Argolida and Corinthia).
At the same time, the country’s weather service is forecasting high temperatures again this week set to reach 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 Fahrenheit) in the coming days.
It is reminded that advisories are still in place from the UK and US informing travelers of the high risk of fire when visiting Greece. In case of emergency, the General Secretariat of Civil Protection offers the following guidance.