At least 50 people killed in wildfires near Athens, Greece

This is the deadliest fire season in Greece since 2007

map fires Greece wildfires

Above: The red dots on the map represent fires in Greece detected by a satellite July 23, 2018.

(Originally published at 8:25 a.m. MDT July 24, 2018)

Authorities in Greece are saying that at least 50 people have been killed in two large wildfires near Athens. As 50 mph winds pushed the fires, residents and tourists took refuge on ocean beaches. Boats plucked some out of the water while others were picked up on the shore and taken to safety. The Greek Coast Guard and other vessels picked up more than 700 who were fleeing from the fire.

Rescuers reported finding the bodies of more than 20 people huddled together near a beach. Other were found in or near groups of vehicles that became trapped, much like the situation in Portugal last year when 62 people died.

There are at least two large fires in Greece. One is about 10 miles northeast of Athens near the coastal city of Nea Makri and the other is about 25 miles west of Athens at another city on the coast, Kineta. Both fires spread toward the ocean, generally west to east.

The Associated Press reported that 10 people were killed when a boat capsized while it was evacuating vacationers from a hotel in Mati, east of Athens.

This is the deadliest fire season in Greece since 2007 when more than 60 people were killed in the Peloponnese region.

Showers near Athens Monday missed both fires, but heavy rain is in the forecast for Wednesday.

Several European countries have offered to send water-scooping air tankers to assist firefighters, including Spain, Italy, Turkey, and Croatia. Greece also has their own fleet of scoopers.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

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