Fires raging near the birthplace of the Olympics, according to the most recent maps.
GREEK FIREFIGHTERS are battling blazing wildfires once again as the country suffers from a record-breaking heat wave.
Two fires are now being extinguished, one of which poses a threat to the Archaeological site of Olympia, which is the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Temperatures in Greece have reached over 40 degrees Celsius, and strong winds have spread flames across the country during the last three days.
170 firefighters, 50 trucks, six helicopters, and water-bombing planes are battling the flames, which has so far claimed the lives of 20 people.
According to local officials, the fire’s front is now going toward Lalas, a mountainous wooded area northwest of Olympia, and six surrounding towns have been evacuated.
Due to the fire, the villages of Herakleia, Pournari, Pelopio, Platanos, and Kafkania have all been evacuated.
Reinforcements from Cyprus and France have arrived, and two Swedish planes are scheduled to arrive later on Thursday.
In 2007, wildfires ravaged Olympia, where the games were held from 776 BC to 393 AD, killing scores of people but saving the remnants of ancient arenas.
Authorities claim that “forces fought an all-night fight to maintain the archaeological settlement intact,” suggesting that the ancient site may now be safe.
A separate fire on Evia, about 200 kilometers east of Athens, is also rapidly growing.
As the fire approached, church bells rung late into the night to warn residents to flee.
As the fire engulfed villages, at least 150 homes are believed to have been burned.
On Tuesday, 81 fires erupted across Greece, making it one of the worst days in recent memory.
According to the Greek government, 41 additional fires broke out around the country between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
The Greek fire department stated on Thursday that it had to deal with 92 forest fires in the last 24 hours, up from 118 the day before.
“We’re fighting a titanic battle,” said Nikos Hardalias, deputy minister of civil protection.
“The toughest part is still to come.”
Temperatures that have been rising for days in Greece, along with locally high winds, have created a perilous mix of hot and dry conditions that have allowed fires to spread.
Burning are becoming more frequent and intense as a result of global warming, with hundreds of fires seen around the world so far this year.
“Brinkwire Summary News,” European Union.