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Greek authorities battle forest fire that forced evacuation of hospital and nursing home

Greek authorities battle forest fire that forced evacuation of hospital and nursing home

Greek authorities have evacuated a children’s hospital and a nursing home on the outskirts of the southern city of Patras after a forest fire broke out in the area during hot, windy summer weather.

ATHENS, Greece – Greek authorities evacuated a children’s hospital and a nursing home on the outskirts of the southern Greek city of Patras on Tuesday after a summer forest fire broke out in the area amid hot, windy weather.

Fire service spokesman Vasilis Vathrakoyiannis said the evacuations were carried out as a precautionary measure and that the fire service’s major efforts were bearing fruit. No injuries were reported. In total, around two dozen children were evacuated, health officials said.

Vathrakoyiannis said no houses were in danger from the fire, which raged in a pine forest on the outskirts of the city, about 200 kilometers west of Athens.

“The fire very quickly reached enormous proportions,” he told state television station ERT. “The front and its dynamics have been contained.”

“We are now only dealing with isolated fires,” he added. Around 80 firefighters, supported by ten firefighting aircraft, are trying to extinguish the fire.

Further fires raged in at least three parts of Greece on Tuesday.

The country is hit by devastating forest fires every summer, which killed more than 20 people last year.

Authorities warned this week of a high risk of forest fires.

Vassilis Kikilas, Minister of Civil Protection, said that due to a lack of winter rains and high temperatures in spring, this summer was the most difficult in 20 years in terms of fighting forest fires.

“Most parts of the country are at high to very high fire risk (on Wednesday) due to the heat and very strong winds,” he said.

According to civil protection authorities, nearly 1,300 forest fires broke out across the country last month, more than twice the number recorded in June 2023.