(Bloomberg) — Eighteen people were found dead in a forest in northeast Greece as fire fighters struggled to contain wildfires.
A spokesman for the fire service said the people had burned to death. Authorities are investigating the possibility that the people were migrants, he said. Authorities have also evacuated the hospital in Alexandroupolis as well as eight villages in the surrounding area as fires that started over the weekend are spreading.
The fires in Greece are the latest evidence of what’s been a summer of extreme weather, ranging from wildfires in Canada to flooding and violent storms elsewhere in Europe. Global warming is increasing the intensity of such events as the world’s hottest ever month was recorded in July.
About 65 patients had to be transfered to a ship in the port of Alexandroupolis as the blaze approached the hospital. So far there are no reports of damage to the facility, but the ship is leaving for the port of Kavala so that patients can go to the hospital there.
Read more: Greece Fights Wild Fires as Heat Blankets Southern Europe (1)
Another fire broke out Tuesday in Aspropirgos, a suburb northwest of Athens, with authorities ordering the evacuation in three areas. Police has also stopped traffic on one of the main highways in the capital.
In Fili, a small municipality in the foothills of Parnitha mountain some 25km northwest to the capital city of Athens, another fire started at about noon on Tuesday. Authorities issued an evacuation order order as the blaze burned homes in the area. Overall, there are about 10 wildfires in Greece currently.
The situation is expected to remain difficult as temperatures of 40C (104F) are forecast for Tuesday and the wind will remain strong for another day. The Athens region, Viotia, Evia and other three areas are under “extreme” high alert status for fire and authorities have banned access to forests and mountains until Wednesday morning.
(Updates with details on more fires from fourth paragraph.)