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Firefighters turn corner on Greek fires as risk moves west

But forecast increased the likelihood of new flare-ups

13 August, 16:41
(ANSA-AFP) - ATHENS, AUG 13 - Greece breathed a sigh of relief Friday after "mega fires" that have ravaged much of the country were brought under control, but firefighters elsewhere in southern Europe braced for fresh outbreaks. The scorching temperatures across the Mediterranean have increased the risk of blazes, which have already devastated parts of Italy, Turkey, Algeria and Tunisia, with the bulk of Spain and Portugal's regions put on high alert for wildfires. Rising temperatures and increased dryness due to changing rainfall patterns have created the ideal conditions for forest fires, with the five-year period to 2019 "unprecedented" for fire, especially in Europe and North America, according to the World Meterological Organization.

Scientists say with heatwaves becoming longer and more intense due to climate change, they lead to out-of-control wildfires that inflict unprecedented material and environmental damage.

Although rain and a drop in temperatures helped firefighters in Greece gain a hold on the active fronts on the island of Evia and the Arcadia region which have burned more than 100,000 hectares, winds forecast this weekend increased the likelihood of new flare-ups, authorities said. The huge multinational force assisting Greece will remain in place, said civil protection spokesman Spyros Georgious. (ANSA-AFP).

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