British firefighters deployed to help tackle ravaging wildfires in Greece

7 August 2021, 19:00

People try to move parts of their belongings to safety as a forest fire rages in a wooded area north of Athens.
People try to move parts of their belongings to safety as a forest fire rages in a wooded area north of Athens. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

British teams are being sent to Greece to help tackle the wildfires which have killed one firefighter and are ravaging parts of the country.

Firefighters fight a forest fire in a wooded area north of Athens.
Firefighters fight a forest fire in a wooded area north of Athens. Picture: Alamy

Teams from Merseyside, Lancashire, South Wales, London and West Midlands fire services will fly to Athens this weekend.

It comes after the death of a volunteer firefighter and the evacuation of thousands of people from an island near Athens, as well as towns north of the capital.

Read more: 'Biblical catastrophe': Footage shows wildfires rip through Greece as people flee

There were dramatic scenes as ferries evacuated 1,153 people from a seaside village and beaches on Evia, after flames from a massive wildfire burning for days cut off all other means of escape.

At least 20 people have been injured in blazes during the country's worst heat wave in 30 years, as homes, businesses and farms have been destroyed.

The National Fire Chiefs Council's (NFCC) national resilience team is responding to a formal request from Home Secretary Priti Patel to give operational assistance to Greece.

Ms Patel said: "I've seen first-hand this week the devastating wildfires ripping through Greece and the UK stands shoulder to shoulder with our Greek friends at this difficult time.

"I've asked the National Fire Chiefs Council to send out a specialist team to provide support in responding to this emergency. I am immensely grateful to the brave firefighters for stepping forward and volunteering to help and their expertise will be invaluable in supporting the Greek emergency services."

Remarkable footage captured the moment people were evacuated at Evia on a ferry as fires burn in the dark.

The residents were left with no choice but to flee and watch from the water as their home burnt up.

Over the Aegean Sea in Turkey, eight people have been killed in fires which have devastated its southern coast.

Read more: Eight people have died in wildfires which have torn through the Turkish coast

The fires, described as Turkey's worst in living memory, killed a volunteer who was carrying drinking water and other refreshments to firefighters in Marmaris.

The fires have also killed countless animals, destroyed acres of forests near the country's favourite tourist destinations, and forced thousands of evacuations.

Farmlands have also been ravaged, leaving many in the region concerned about their livelihoods.

In coastal Mugla province, where the tourist destinations of Bodrum and Marmaris are located, fires continued to burn in three areas on Friday.

Blazes in Marmaris were largely contained by Friday, according to its mayor. Fires also raged in some districts of Antalya province, another tourism spot.