In Greece, dozens of active fires at the beginning of a weekend of historic heat

This weekend in Greece “risks being the hottest in fifty years” for the month of July, a meteorologist from the public channel said on Friday. The country is experiencing a heat wave that is expected to continue into next week while dealing with around 79 fires that are still active.


The heat has already set the country on fire, but Greeks must prepare to see the thermometer rise even higher: In Greece, the weekend “risks being the hottest in the last fifty years” for a month of July, a meteorologist from the public channel said on Friday, July 21.

The country is suffering from a heatwave which is expected to continue into next week, while firefighters are still battling 79 fires across the country.

“We have three difficult days ahead of us. We must be vigilant!”, also warned the Minister of Civil Protection, Vassilis Kikilias, on ERT.

In the Greek capital, according to the Athens National Observatory, an absolute record temperature of 44.8°C was recorded in June 2007, while the absolute record in Greece was reached in July 1977 with 48°C in Elefsina near Athens.

Continued forest fires

In the face of dozens of forest fires that have been declared since the beginning of the week, especially near Athens, the situation has improved, but the firefighters “are still controlling 79 fires across the country”, according to the fire service.

Friday was “another difficult day with 52 new fires across the country,” Vassilios Vathrakoyannis, spokesman for the service, said during a press briefing on Friday evening.

“The country remains on high alert this weekend,” he added.

Many European countries, as well as Jordan and Israel, have sent firefighters, planes and helicopters in recent days to help their Greek counterparts fight the flames, according to Civil Protection.

On Friday, neighboring Turkey also announced the dispatch of two water bombers and a helicopter, according to the Turkish presidency.

The worst day to come

According to the national meteorological service EMY, at noon on Friday, temperatures of 41 ° C were recorded in Attica, in the Athens region, and up to 44 ° C in Thessaly, in the center of the country.

On the island of Euboea, a 46-year-old man died that day after being admitted to hospital with a “body temperature of 40 degrees”.

“The possible cause of death is cardio-respiratory arrest after exposure to a very high temperature,” notes the Chalkida Hospital statement.

Sunday is set to be the worst day with temperatures approaching 44°C in Athens and 45°C in Thessaly.

“This weekend is likely to be the hottest July recorded in the last fifty years,” assured public broadcaster ERT meteorologist Panagiotis Giannopoulos.

“Athens will have temperatures above 40°C for 6 to 7 days until the end of July”, an unusually long period even for a European capital used to summer heat, he said.

An opinion is shared by the meteorologist from the private TV channel Mega, Yannis Kallianos, who described this heat wave as “an endless and powerful heat wave”.

“According to the latest forecasts, the heat wave may last until Thursday 27 and next Friday 27 and 28 July,” he added.

On Sunday and Monday (July 23 and 24), northerly winds blowing up to 60 km/h are also likely to favor the start of fires, the expert warned.

All archaeological sites in the country, including the Acropolis in Athens, remain closed during the hottest hours of the day until Sunday, according to the Ministry of Culture.

The Ministry of Labor has encouraged employers to promote remote working, while the Ministry of Health has made recommendations to avoid all unnecessary travel during the day.


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