Greek authorities evacuate 1200 children from summer camp after forest fire breaks out in popular beach town

18 July 2023, 09:13 | Updated: 18 July 2023, 09:14

Two separate fires have been tearing through Greece amid a scorching heatwave
Two separate fires have been tearing through Greece amid a scorching heatwave. Picture: Getty/social media

Have your holidays been affected by the heatwave? Email online@lbc.co.uk

Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Some 1,200 children have been evacuated from a summer camp in Greece as the country battles two raging wildfires amid a deadly heatwave.

A blaze initially broke out in Kouvaras, around 30 miles southeast of Athens, forcing firefighters to tackle "really strong" gusts of winds of up to 37mph.

A fire forest fire also broke out in the popular beach town of Loutraki, also close to Athens, forcing the evacuation of more than a thousand children.

"We have saved 1,200 children who were in the holiday camps," said the town’s mayor, Giorgos Gkionis.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of starting the fire in Kouvaras.

It comes as Europe continues to grapple with a deadly heatwave, with temperatures expect to hit 46C today.

Temperatures in Greece have remained high over the last week and are expected to peak at around 41C between July 18 and 23.

But there have also been warnings extreme temperatures in Europe could remain until August.

The World Meteorological Organization said on Monday: "The heat is forecast to intensify by the middle of the week (19 July) in parts of the Mediterranean, including Greece and Turkey.

"A further continuation into August is likely."

Read More: New Met Office forecast dampens hope of better weather in August - while Europe bakes in 45C

Firefighters battle blaze in Loutraki, Greece
Firefighters battle blaze in Loutraki, Greece. Picture: Getty
The blaze in Loutraki burns overnight
The blaze in Loutraki burns overnight. Picture: social media

Greece is not the only European tourist hotspot to be hit by the heatwave, with similar conditions seen in Spain, Italy, and Turkey.

The Italian island of Sardinia is expected to see a high of 46C at some point this afternoon, as temperatures edge close to the European record of 48.8C.

Read More: Holidaymakers evacuated from scorching resorts in Europe as 'hottest day' approaches - and it could last until August

Meanwhile, thousands of people living on the Spanish island of La Palma have been forced to evacuate their homes as firefighters battled an out-of-control forest fire.

The scorching heatwave has led some to cancel their holiday plans in favour of areas with cooler temperatures.

A fire on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma has destroyed 4,000 hectares of land
A fire on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma has destroyed 4,000 hectares of land. Picture: Getty

Victoria Moy recently cancelled her trip to Sicily, Italy, instead opting to visit Dorset.

"Couldn't think of anything worse than 32 degrees with a toddler!" she told MailOnline.

"We had booked to go to Palermo in Sicily from 5-12 July. Booked £400 flights and paid for them, and I reserved an Air BnB. I had planned to go to a cookery school in the heart of Palermo to perfect some Italian recipes.

"We decided to ditch the plan and we drove to Poole in Dorset for a week instead."

Read More: Brits cancel holidays as Europe bakes in scorching heatwave and tourists are evacuated due to wildfires

It is not just Europe that experiencing extreme heat, but the United States and China too.

A provisional new record for a midnight temperature (49C) in Death Valley, Arizona, was recorded in the US last night.

Meanwhile, China reported hitting temperatures of 52.2C on Sunday, soaring past its previous record of 50.3C.

An extreme heat danger sign at Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park, on Monday, July 17
An extreme heat danger sign at Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park, on Monday, July 17. Picture: Getty

In the UK, however, temperatures have been comparatively cooler, with less sunshine and more rain - which may continue until mid-August.

According to the Met Office, high temperatures in Europe are being driven by settled conditions under an upper ridge sat across the continent - pushing temperatures up.

There are also "unusually high" surface sea temperatures, exacerbating the effects of the heatwave.

But the southern shift of the Jet Stream that has pushed the high pressure southwards across this region has also led to low pressure systems being directed into the UK, bringing more unsettled and cooler weather.

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