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Villages evacuated as wildfires breaks out in southern Greece near Ancient Olympia

Villages evacuated as wildfires breaks out in southern Greece near Ancient Olympia


major fire has broken out in southern Greece near the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia, forcing the evacuation of six villages.

The blaze broke out on Sunday afternoon near the villages of Krestena and Skillountia, which are south and south-east of Ancient Olympia.

Greek authorities have evacuated six villages, with 125 firefighters operating in the area along with four planes and four helicopters.

However, a fire brigade spokesperson said prevailing north-westerly winds were pushing the fire up a mountain and away from Ancient Olympia.

At least six more significant fires were burning across the country on Sunday, according to the fire service, with three of those burning for several days.

Fire burns on a hill near the village of Krestena south of Ancient Olympia

/ AP

A spokesperson, Yannis Artopoios, said 141 wildfires had started in Greece over the past three days.

The fire on the Greek island of Lesbos, which required the evacuation of more than 450 tourists and locals on Saturday, is slowly being controlled, according to authorities.

As of Sunday afternoon, there were only scattered blazes, they said.

But two fires still threaten Greek nature reserves, one in the north-eastern region of Thrace, close to the border with Turkey, and another in the region of Western Macedonia.

Three other fires also broke out on Sunday, including on the popular tourist hotspot of Crete.

Hot and dry conditions, along with strong gusts of winds, have prevailed for weeks in Greece.

A heatwave that arrived on Saturday pushed temperature past 41C in some places. The heat is expected to persist for several days.

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