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Wildfires rage across Greece, Turkey, Italy as death toll mounts

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Fanned by soaring temperatures and strong winds — with experts saying that climate change increases both the frequency and intensity of such blazes — this year’s fire season has been significantly more destructive than the previous average, EU data shows.

Turkey is suffering its worst fires in at least a decade with nearly 95,000 hectares (235,000 acres) burnt so far this year, compared with an average of 13,516 at the same point in the years between 2008 and 2020.

A temperature of 49.1 degrees Celsius (120.3 Fahrenheit) was recorded in the southeastern town of Cizre on July 20. And the mercury is expected to reach 40C in Antalya on Monday.

Meanwhile, a major blaze broke out early Saturday near Patras in the western Greece.

Five villages have been evacuated and eight people were hospitalised with burns and respiratory problems in the region, which remains on alert.

Around 20 homes have been burnt down, according to a provisional figure from the fire brigade. The mayor of nearby village Aigialeias, Dimitris Kalogeropoulos, called it “an immense catastrophe”.

Flames consumed around 30 houses, barns and stables in the villages of Ziria, Kamares, Achaias and Labiri.

Italy was again hit by fires after more than 20,000 hectares of forest, olive groves and crops were destroyed by a blaze in Sardinia last weekend.

More than 800 flare-ups were recorded this weekend, mainly in the south, Italy’s fire brigade said.

It added that firefighters were still battling blazes in the Sicilian cities of Catania, Palermo and Syracuse. While the south of Italy has been burning, the north has suffered wild storms.


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