The heat wave that is sweeping across south-eastern Europe and the Mediterranean has encouraged the rapid spread of forest fires that are raging in countries such as Greece, Turkey, Italy, North Macedonia and Bulgaria, while the intensity of the fires has reached record levels in some places.

The historic heatwave, which has reached 45 degrees Celsius on average, together with strong winds, has encouraged the spread of the various outbreaks of forest fires in these Mediterranean regions.

In Greece, there have been more than a hundred fires in the last 24 hours, three of which are out of control.

The most worrying at the moment is the fire on the island of Euboea, which after three days of activity, firefighters have still not managed to bring under control, but alarms were raised even more when authorities reported that the flames were approaching Athens and threatening the ruins of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games in 776 BC.

Three more villages were evacuated overnight, adding to the ten villages evacuated since Tuesday, local authorities said this morning.

In Turkey, authorities have evacuated a thermal power plant in the province of Milas, as a fire has been raging for days and has been approaching the facility.

With the flames about 400 metres from the power plant, Turkish authorities have stressed the need to protect the facility from the fire, which has been spreading in the municipality for eight days in shifting winds.

Italy has also been affected by fires due to the ravages of the heatwave affecting the island of Sicily in particular, with firefighters intervening in 257 outbreaks.

Europe is sending seaplanes to help extinguish the fires.

The European Union has mobilised both air and land resources to help extinguish the forest fires that are affecting Italy, Greece, North Macedonia and Albania.

The European Commission has informed in a press release that three Spanish and two French seaplanes have been sent to Italy to put out the flames that are raging on the island of Sardinia.

In addition, in the fires affecting Greece, neighbouring Cyprus has already mobilised another two aircraft, as well as teams of firefighters to help with the extinguishing work on the ground.

In the case of the Balkans, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic have sent two helicopters to Albania, while Slovenia has committed 45 firefighters to help with the fires in North Macedonia.

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