Home » Breaking News:Forest fire in Greece threatens Olympics birthplace

Breaking News:Forest fire in Greece threatens Olympics birthplace

A forest fire in Greece has threatened the archaeological site at the birthplace of the modern Olympics amid the protracted European heatwave.

Firefighters waged “an all-night battle” overnight on Wednesday to protect the site from fire in the southern Peloponnese region near ancient Olympia, said Citizens Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis.

“We will continue the battle all day in order to contain all the fronts and extinguish the fire. The conditions are difficult,” Chrisochoidis said on Thursday.

The site is where the Olympics were held every four years from 776 BC for more than a millennium.

Regional Governor Nektarios Farmakis told state television it had been “saved for the time being”, but warned the danger was “not over”.

He hoped the fire would be brought under control with helicopters and firefighting planes.

In 2007, the same area was ravaged by wildfires that killed dozens of people but spared Olympia’s ruined sports venues and temples.

The fire department said 174 firefighters, nine ground teams, 52 vehicles, two water-dropping planes and four helicopters were tackling the fire, which broke out on Wednesday.

Described as Greece’s worst heatwave since 1987, the extreme weather phenomenon has baked the country for more than a week and is forecast to last until at least Sunday.

It has sent temperatures spiralling to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) and created tinder-dry conditions in shrub-land and forests.

Neighbouring countries face similar conditions, fuelling deadly and widespread wildfires in Turkey and blazes in Italy and across the Mediterranean region.

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