Massive Greece wildfire coming under control: govt

Firefighters are bringing a massive Greece wildfire under control (Sakis MITROLIDIS)
Firefighters are bringing a massive Greece wildfire under control (Sakis MITROLIDIS)

Firefighters are gaining the upper hand on the massive blaze that has been raging for two weeks in the Dadia National Park in northeastern Greece, authorities said Monday.

Classified by experts as a "megafire", the blaze raging in Dadia has so far destroyed more than 81,000 hectares (200,155 acres)of the forested area, protected by the European agency Natura 2000.

"According to the latest information from our firefighters, the Dadia fire front is on its way to being completely under control," government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis said, adding that teams were staying in position to survey the area.

The devastation in Dadia accounts for almost half the total area burned by wildfires in Greece since the start of the summer, according to the European climate service Copernicus.

Like several Mediterranean countries, Greece faces fierce wildfires every summer, which this year left 26 people dead and at least 150,000 hectares burned, according to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Mitsotakis pledged compensation for farmers and people whose homes had been damaged in the affected regions.

A government spokesperson said the prime minister would visit the Evros region, home to the Dadia forest, to assess the damage and meet residents affected by the disaster.

Last week, the government also announced measures aimed at reforesting the area and work to combat flooding.

"After the prolonged risk of fires, the meteorological service has warned of serious bad weather which could hit our country in the coming days", a government spokesperson said.

"Authorities are on alert... and we ask citizens to carefully follow instructions given", he added.