Greek prime minister warns of ‘particularly dangerous’ wildfire summer – Voice of America – VOA News

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Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is warning of “a particularly dangerous” summer ahead as warm, dry and windy conditions spark wildfires and evacuations in Greece. He also said, “The most difficult times are still ahead of us,” as he addressed his Cabinet.

On the Aegean island of Chios, residents living in the Metohi area Monday were ordered to evacuate to a nearby beach. Blazes were also reported on the island of Kos. These come after firefighters tamed two large forest fires near Athens on Sunday.

Wildfires are common in Greece, a popular tourist destination, but an increase in strong winds and an ongoing drought are reported to be worsening conditions. Scientists are attributing the increase in hot, dry and windy weather to climate change.

Mitsotakis explained that the country “had a very difficult June” with the extreme weather conditions, but credited firefighters for taming and limiting the damage from the recent blazes.


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Mitsotakis noted that drones were helpful in containing wildfires this year. The country has been utilizing the drones as part of an early warning system and for coordination between authorities and volunteers. The prime minister says he believes they have been helpful in limiting the extent of fire damage.

Greece hired more staff to increase its wildfire preparations for the summer. Last year, more than 20 people died due to wildfires, with 19,000 being forced to flee the island of Rhodes.

Some information for this story was provided by Reuters and Associated Press.

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