At least 20 people have been killed and dozens more injured as two wildfires burned outside of Athens, Greece, officials said on Tuesday.
The forest fires raged outside of the capital in eastern and western parts of Attica, the greater Athens area. Public health officials say three people remain in life-threatening condition, according to FOX NEWS.
A state of emergency was declared by regional authorities in the area. Greece said the Republic of Cyprus offered to send firefighters, and Spain offered to send water-dropping aircraft.
Residents fled their homes Monday as a swift-moving fire blazed through a mountainous pine forest west of Athens and churned out smoke that turned the sky orange over the Greek capital. The fire department said 80 firefighters with 40 vehicles were on the scene near the seaside settlement of Kineta, about 50km (30 miles) from Athens between the capital and Corinth, while 7 water-dropping planes & 4 helicopters were helping from the air.
Several other fires broke out across the country, including in northeastern Greece and the southern island of Crete.
“It’s a difficult night for Greece.”
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said officials “are doing everything humanly possible to try and tackle these fires,” but “what concerns us is that there are fires occurring simultaneously.”
Tspiras said “it’s a difficult night for Greece,” and said more than 600 firefighters and 300 vehicles were involved in trying to put out the fires.
It was not immediately clear how any of the fires started. Forest fires are common in Greece during the hot, dry summers and the country has been facing high temperatures recently of up to 104 Fahrenheit.