UK holidaymakers in Greece issued urgent warning in 'highly dangerous' scenes

Tourists exit the ancient Acropolis in central Athens on Wednesday, June 12
-Credit: (Image: AP)


Greece is bracing itself for more wildfires as the country experiences soaring temperatures, according to reports. Wildfires have already broken out in the country in recent days with the fire service dealing with blazes near Markopoulo, east of Athens, and on the island of Evia on Wednesday.

Temperatures are set to reach as high as 40C in mainland Greece today (Thursday June 20) and tomorrow with temperatures remaining in the high 20s overnight,the country’s national weather agency, the Hellenic National Meteorological Service, forecasts. Weather alert site meteoalarm.org has issued yellow and amber warnings for high temperatures across the country, which are in place throughout Thursday.

Along with the heat, the Hellenic National Meteorological Service has also issued gale warnings for parts of the country. The combination of dry, hot weather and wind has led to a “very high forest fire risk”, local news site ekathimerini.com reports.

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It says that “Attica, Corinth, a large part of Argolida and Messinia, Viotia, southern Evia, as well as many islands of the Aegean (Lesvos, Chios, Cyclades etc) and southern Crete are at risk of forest fires”, according to a map created by the flame team at the National Observatory of Athens. Thodoris Giannaros, an expert member of the team warned that the current weather “increase significantly the flammability of dead forest fuels” leading to the “perfect kindling for fire”.

Firefighters try to extinguish the fire burning in Koropi suburb, eastern part of Athens, Wednesday, June 19
Firefighters try to extinguish the fire burning in Koropi suburb, eastern part of Athens, Wednesday, June 19 -Credit:AP

Conditions are set to cool slightly over the weekend, but temperatures will still remain in the low 30s. Regarding wildfires in Greece, the UK Foreign Office has the following advice:

"Wildfires are highly dangerous and unpredictable. The situation can change quickly. Follow “112 Greece” on X (formerly known as Twitter) for official updates.

"You should:

  • take care when visiting or driving through woodland areas

  • make sure cigarette ends are properly extinguished

  • not light barbecues

"Causing a forest fire is treated as a criminal offence in Greece even if unintentional. If you see a forest fire, call the emergency services on 112. Forest fires can also cause travel disruption in wider areas.

"Be cautious if you are in or near an area affected by wildfires. You should:

  • follow the guidance of the emergency services

  • call the Greek Emergency Services on 112 if you are in immediate danger

  • contact your airline or travel operator who can assist you with return travel to the UK.

  • enable the “Emergency Alerts” option to receive the Greek government’s emergency alerts. For:

  • iPhones go to Settings > Notification. Enable the “Emergency Alerts” option at the bottom.

  • Android 11 and higher go to Settings > Notifications > Advanced Settings > Wireless Emergency Alerts

  • Samsung Devices go to Settings > Apps > Messages > Notifications > Emergency Notifications. Enable the “Emergency Alerts” option

  • read the Greek Government’s protection guidelines in the event of a forest fire.

  • register via the Greek government’s Emergency Communication Service (in Greek)

"For further information on the risk of forest fires, visit the Civil Protection website."

Last week the Acropolis, which welcomed four million visitors last year, was forced to close to visitors. Red Cross medics were also seen handing out water bottles to tourists.

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