Dramatic footage shows Greek resort engulfed by wildfire as residents flee across the sea and villages are destroyedAugust 5, 2021
HARROWING footage shows the Greek island of Evia engulfed by wildfire – just one of over 100 blazes burning across the country.
At least 150 houses on the island have been destroyed by flames which began surrounding a dozen villages on Tuesday.
Residents and holidaymakers have been forced to flee the devastation in boats and cars as wildfires continue to destroy Greece.
And in shocking footage, flames can be seen ravaging the island's trees and houses as onlookers film from the sea in horror.
Empty sunbeds can be seen on a white sandy beach as flames light up the sky behind.
One beachgoer can be seen getting out of a car by the shoreline as others appear to wait for safety.
It comes as Greece suffers its worst heatwave since in over 30 years, with temperatures soaring to 45C this week.
The sweltering heat has led to over 100 wildfires across the country, with authorities blaming climate change.
Evia is some 200km (125 miles) away from Athens, where more than 500 firefighters, a dozen water-bombing planes and five helicopters have been battling fires.
According to Hardalias, Greece had this morning faced a total of 118 fires in the past 24 hours as temperatures rocketed above 40C.
Authorities in Athens have recommended residents stay indoors and wear a mask to protect against the ash and smoke.
And dozens of people have contacted the emergency services complaining of breathing difficulties.
We are fighting some of the worst wildfires we've seen in decades. But this summers floods, heatwaves and forest fires can become our new normality
Water-dropping planes and helicopters have swooped over blazes near the capital, in central Greece, Evia, and near Ancient Olympia to the south.
And dozens of villages and settlements have been evacuated, including Evia's hotels, where boats were used to transport stranded holidaymakers to safety.
In Athens, the main towns of Varympopi, Adames and Thrakomakedones have been the worst affected as authorities grappled with a total of 81 forest fires.
The heat wave baking southeast Europe for a second week has also triggered deadly fires in Turkey and Albania and blazes across the region.
North Macedonias government on Thursday declared the country in a state of crisis for the next 30 days due to the wildfires.
The EU Commissioner for the environment, Virginijus Sinkevicius, said the fires and extreme weather globally over the summer were a clear signal for the need to address climate change.
"We are fighting some of the worst wildfires we've seen in decades. But this summers floods, heatwaves and forest fires can become our new normality", he wrote in a tweet.
Meanwhile, Greece's Civil Protection Agency said the risk of fires across southern Greece would increase on Friday, with windy weather forecast for parts of the country.
Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos said the armed forces would up their means of prevention, with ground patrols, drones, and aircraft flying over areas vulnerable to wildfires.
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