Saturday, 2 Mar 2024

Brave farmer pictured running through Greece wildfires to save his animals

A heroic farmer has been pictured risking his life to save his animals.

The man – who has not been named – was captured by photographer Kostas Tsironis in Fyli, near Athens.

He led a donkey, dog and horse to safety amid the life-threatening conditions.

Pictures show him leading the panicked animals to safety as fire rages down the road.

In one photo, the farmer carries a dog to safety instead of having him walk on the hot ground.

Mass evacuations have taken place in Greece as flames continue to rage across the country.

Firefighters have found the bodies of 18 people while scouring the area of a major wildfire.

Authorities were examining whether the group might have been migrants who entered the country through the nearby border with Turkey.

The discovery in the Avanta area of the city of Alexandroupolis came as hundreds of firefighters battled dozens of wildfires breaking out across the country, fanned by gale-force winds.

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

With their hot, dry summers, southern European countries are particularly prone to wildfires.

Another major blaze was burning across Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands for a week, although no injuries or damage to homes was reported.

European Union officials have blamed climate change for the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires in Europe, noting that 2022 was the second-worst year for wildfire damage on record after 2017.

In Greece, police activated the country’s Disaster Victim Identification Team to identify the 18 bodies, which were found near a shack in the Avanta area, Ioannis Artopios, a spokesman for the fire department, said in a televised statement.

Alexandroupolis lies near the country’s border with Turkey, along a route often taken by people fleeing poverty and conflict in the Middle East, Asia and Africa and seeking to enter the European Union.

Avanta, like many nearby villages and settlements, had been under evacuation orders, with push alerts sent to mobile phones.

New fires broke out in several parts of the country on Tuesday, including in woodland north-west of Athens and an industrial area on the capital’s western fringes.

Small explosions resounded from the industrial area of Aspropyrgos as the flames reached warehouses and factories, while authorities shut down a highway and ordered the evacuation of nearby villages.

With firefighting forces stretched to the limit, Greece appealed for help from the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

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