Greece braced for a new wave of soaring temperatures on Tuesday as wildfires ravaged several popular tourist islands, forcing mass evacuations.
National weather forecaster EMY says the mercury will rise to 41 degrees Celsius in the capital city of Athens and 44 degrees Celsius in central Greece.
Many areas of the country were on “red alert”, meaning the risk of dangerous wildfires due to strong winds is high.
The extremely hot weather comes after a weekend of scorching heat with thousands of locals and tourists Fleeing wildfires on the Greek island of Rhodes Corfu The prime minister has warned the heat-ravaged country is “at war” with the blazes.
Authorities evacuated nearly 2,500 people from the Greek island of Corfu on Monday after tens of thousands of people fled a fire on the island of Rhodes.
More than 260 firefighters are battling the blaze in Rhodes for the eighth straight day, supported by two helicopters and two planes.
Fires were also spreading on Greece’s second-largest island of Evia, where Greek civil protection authorities issued an overnight evacuation order for a northern area.
The mercury in Gytheo, southern Peloponnese peninsula, recorded 46.4 degrees Celsius on Sunday, falling short of the national maximum of 48 degrees Celsius.
“We are at war and ready only for the fire front,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament on Monday.
He warned that the country faces “three more difficult days” before predicting an easing of high temperatures.
‘Save our home’
A severe heat wave in Greece was reflected in southern Europe and northern Africa.
At least 34 people have died as wildfires raged through populated areas in Algeria, forcing mass evacuations.
In southeastern France, officials issued a fire warning on Monday at high levels in the Bouches-du-Rhône region, warning that weather conditions made the risk of flames “higher than in a normal summer.”
Greece’s unusual temperatures have forced major tourist attractions such as the Acropolis in Athens. Close during the hottest part of the day.
Greece’s Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilios said crews had battled more than 500 fires across the country in 12 consecutive days.
Fires are particularly devastating on the tourist islands of Rhodes and Corfu, where the season is active and hotels are often full.
Volunteers arrived to help foreign tourists in the north of the island, where about 200 people were still camping at a school after being evacuated from the fire on Saturday.
School director Kyriakos Kyriakoulis told AFP that dozens of local volunteers and school staff had come forward to help those stranded.
“I can’t believe they were so nice, they gave so much in every way,” said Christine Moody, a 69-year-old British tourist who was on her first holiday in Greece when the fire broke out.
“I’m very emotional,” she said.
In the island’s southeast village of Vati, local mayor Vassilis Kalabodakis said the impact on the area was “catastrophic”.
“The village has been ordered to be evacuated, but we cannot leave it,” he said. “We are leading the fight to save our home”.
The heat waves that hit parts of Europe and North America this month would have been almost impossible without human-caused climate change, scientists from the World Weather Attribution Group said on Tuesday.