As wildfires rage, Greece set to face fresh heatwave

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Greece braced for a new wave of soaring temperatures Tuesday, as wildfires raged on two popular tourist islands.

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In the capital city of Athens the mercury is expected to soar to 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit), and reach up to 44C in central Greece, according to the national weather forecaster EMY.

The very hot weather comes after a weekend of intense heat and after thousands of locals and tourists fled forest fires in Rhodes and Corfu, with the prime minister warning the heat-battered nation is “at war” with the flames.

The mercury hit 46.4C in Gythio, in the southern Peloponnese peninsula on Sun-day, though failed to reach the hottest temperature nationally on record of 48C.

Authorities evacuated nearly 2,500 people from the Greek island of Corfu on Monday, after tens of thousands of people had already fled blazes on the island of Rhodes, with many frightened tourists scrambling to get home on evacuation flights.

More than 260 firefighters were still battling flames for an eighth consecutive day on Rhodes, supported by two helicopters and two planes.

Fires were also raging on Greece’s second largest island of Evia, where Greek civil protection authorities issued an overnight evacuation order in one northern locality.

“We are at war and are exclusively geared towards the fire front,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament on Monday.

He warned that the country faced “another three difficult days ahead” before high temperatures are forecast to ease.

Vassilis Kikilias, Greece’s civil protection minister, said crews had battled over 500 fires around the country for 12 straight days.

Many regions of the country were on “red alert” Tuesday, meaning there is an ex-treme risk of forest fires, exacerbated by strong winds.

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