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3 injured in Greece's first major wildfire in 2024

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-07 04:43

This file photo shows a Greek flag fluttering in the wind during a wildfire in Chasia in the outskirts of Athens on August 22, 2023. [Photo/CFP]

ATHENS -- Three people were injured on Saturday during Greece's first major wildfire of this year, which broke out on Crete island in southern Greece, according to Fire Brigade officers.

The fire erupted in a forested area on the outskirts of Ierapetra city in the southeastern part of the island.

A total of 169 firefighters were deployed to battle the flames, which were fanned by winds up to 8 on the Beaufort scale blowing in the area, according to a press release. They were supported by four water-dropping helicopters.

An elderly man was hospitalized in serious condition, while a female resident of a nearby settlement, and a firefighter were slightly injured.

Authorities issued an emergency alert to about 300 residents of four villages to evacuate their homes as a precaution.

On Saturday a total of 71 wildfires broke out across the country, according to the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection.

Greece suffers from many wildfires every summer due to high temperatures, heatwaves linked to climate change and arsonists. Twenty people lost their lives in 2023 due to the wildfires. Over 100 died during the fire season in 2018.

Officially the fire season in Greece starts on May 1 and ends on Oct 31 each year. However, the weather in recent weeks is unusually warm for spring and authorities were on alert for wildfires. The thermometer reached 30 degrees Celsius in the mainland on Saturday, according to Greek meteorologists.

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