UPDATE - Situation remains critical in national park in northern Athens as wildfire continues to rage

UPDATE - Situation remains critical in national park in northern Athens as wildfire continues to rage

209 fires broke out in Greece in last 48 hours, says civil protection minister

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By Ahmet Gencturk

ATHENS (AA) - The situation remains critical at the Parnitha National Park, in northern Athens where a wildfire has been raging since Tuesday, Greece’s climate crisis and civil protection minister said Wednesday.

“The speed of response was the maximum possible but owing to the gusty winds and the terrain of the area, it expanded swiftly,” Vassilis Kikilias said at a news conference.

He said a special fire brigade team on crimes of arson and police, as well as the National Intelligence Service (EYP) are investigating the cause of the fire in the northeastern Evros region.

Earlier, the Greek Supreme Court ured regional authorities to investigate the cause.

The National Fire Services was called to intervene in 355 forest fires, noted Kikilias, who added that in the last 48 hours, 209 new fires broke out.

Meanwhile, the fire, which already prompted the evacuations of several settlements including Agia Paraskevi, Agios Yannis Rossos, Dardiza and Menidi, has destroyed at least 10 houses, according to the public broadcaster, ERT.

In addition to three nursing houses and a monastery which were evacuated, the Amygdaleza refugee camp that houses 600 migrants was evacuated as for precautionary measure, it said.

Authorities and firefighters told ERT the strong winds and rugged terrain are severely hampering efforts to get the fire under control.

A fire that broke out Saturday in the area of Alexandroupolis is raging in the western direction and one which started on the island of Evia and is still out of control for a second straight day.

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