Fire breaks out in New Greece, causing evacuations


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Athens (AFP)

A forest fire broke out in a Greek seaside town northeast of Athens on Monday, burning brush and pine trees and prompting preventive evacuations, firefighters said.

The latest blaze comes after Greece was rocked by deadly fires last month fueled by a heat wave officials blamed on global warming.

About 70 firefighters and 20 vehicles were battling the flames on Monday evening in the town of Nea Makri, 38 kilometers (24 miles) northeast of the capital, an official with the fire department’s press service said.

“The fire broke out at 10:35 local time (19:35 GMT) near the homes of Nea Makri, and evacuations were recommended as a precaution,” the official told AFP.

A series of devastating forest fires left three people dead and ravaged more than 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) across Greece in early August, mainly northwest of the capital, on the island of Euboea and in the southern Peloponnese.

It was also a brutal summer fire season for parts of southern Europe including Spain, Italy, Croatia, France and Cyprus, while fires also claimed lives in Turkey and Algeria.

Scientists have warned that extreme weather conditions and severe fires will become more frequent due to man-made global warming, and the Greek prime minister has linked the fires to climate change.

At a summit in Athens on Friday, nine southern members of the European Union pledged their “firm commitment” to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the increase in global temperature to 1, 5 Celsius (34.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Also on Friday, the United Nations warned the world is on a “catastrophic” path to 2.7 degrees Celsius warming because it fails to reduce global emissions.

Over the weekend, the temperature topped 35C in parts of Greece before dropping to 32C on Monday. It should drop further this week.

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