Greece fires: Greece firefighters find bodies of 18 people in forest as blaze continues

Greek authorities said the bodies of 18 people were found Tuesday in an area of northeastern Greece struck by a major wildfire.

The charred bodies were found in a remote village in northern Greece on Tuesday, where wildfires have been raging for days, the fire brigade said as a heatwave hitting southern Europe turned deadly.

Greek media said the bodies found south of the village of Avantas in northern Greece were thought to be of migrants. The broader Evros region is a popular route for migrants crossing from Turkey into Greece.

On Monday, the burned body of another man believed to be a migrant was found in the region, a local police official said.

Hundreds of firefighters struggled Tuesday to control major wildfires burning out of control for days in northeastern Greece and on Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands.

Hot, dry and windy conditions have seen dozens of wildfires break out across Greece, with the most severe entering its fourth day and encroaching on the northeastern port city of Alexandroupolis.

On Monday, two people died and two firefighters were injured in separate fires in northern and central Greece.

The fire risk level for several regions, including the wider Athens area, was listed as “extreme” for the second day Tuesday. Authorities have banned public access to mountains and forests in those regions until at least Wednesday morning and ordered military patrols.

Dozens of hospital patients – including newborn babies – have been evacuated onto a ferry in the Greek port city of Alexandroupolis away from a wildfire that has raged for days.

In Alexandroupolis, northeastern Greece, a ferry was turned into a makeshift hospital after 65 patients were evacuated from the University Hospital in the early hours. Ambulances also ferried patients away from a nearby clinic.

Elderly patients lay on mattresses strewn across the cafeteria floor, paramedics attended to others on stretchers and a woman held a man resting on a sofa, an IV drip attached to his hand.

“I’ve been working for 27 years, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said nurse Nikos Gioktsidis. “Stretchers everywhere, patients here, IV drips there… it was like a war, like a bomb had exploded.”

It comes as a fresh heatwave hit southern Europe. Authorities urged residents to avoid the heat as France, Italy, Spain and elsewhere suffered hot, dry and windy conditions that scientists have linked to the climate crisis. Firefighters were also battling blazes in Spain and Italy.

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