Firefighters, volunteers and residents fight wall of flames on Euboea

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fire fighters
fire fighters

Firefighters, volunteers and residents on the Greek island of Euboea joined together late on Monday to battle wildfires that have been blazing for eight consecutive nights.

Residents of the village of Kamatriades joined emergency crews to form a human chain as a wall of flames approached their homes in the early evening.

Large groups of young men with backpacks and masks joined in, according to images shown on television.

Greece has been battling wildfires nationwide for days, amid an unseasonably hot summer, with blazes reaching the suburbs of Athens.

The country’s firefighting resources are stretched to their limits and many citizens are angry, saying they feel abandoned to their fate by the government.

Alongside Kamatriades, the nearby towns of Istiaia and Avgaria were also evacuated.

Supplies of power and water failed in the areas where the fires are burning, forcing the fire brigade to deliver water in fire trucks.

Many of the helpers were armed only with twigs to beat out the approaching flames.

Such ground work is necessary particularly at night however, as firefighting planes and helicopters cannot fly in the dark, and otherwise, wildfires would spread unchecked.

Volunteers, residents and fire crews managed to prevent the flames from reaching several other villages late on Monday.

Elsewhere in Greece, lighter winds provided some respite, after wildfires were fanned, and new ones sparked, by heavy winds in recent days.

Wildfires continued to burn north of Athens, however, despite the efforts of firefighters who have been battling the flames for days.

Emergency crews tried to put out smaller blazes that flared up anew and stop them from spreading.

Some 10,000 households in the area remained without power on Monday. The more than 1,000 fallen and burned electricity pylons and kilometres of melted cables are due to be removed by the end of the week.

A heatwave is forecast for southern Europe as of Monday, however, with temperatures expected to rise to more than 40 degrees Celsius in many places.

Help had come from more than 20 other countries to support Greek emergency forces by Monday.

The Greek government announced plans to wholly reorganize the civil defence agency to focus more on prevention instead of reacting, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised speech on Monday.

He also pledged dedicated reconstruction funding for people, along with reforestation plans.

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