Evros (Greece), 26/08/2023.- A firefighting helicopter drops water during efforts to put out wildfire in the area of Leptokarya, Evros, northern Greece, 26 August 2023 (issued 27 August 2023). According to the Fire Department, the main front of the Evros fire is located in the area of Leptokarya, while flare-ups occurred during the night in Dadia. Strong ground firefighting forces, along with volunteer firefighters and forces of the Armed Forces are participating in the operation in Evros, assisted by four aircraft and three helicopters. (incendio forestal, Grecia) EFE/EPA/DIMITRIS ALEXOUDIS

Largest fire in EU history still raging in northeastern Greece after 12 days

Athens/Vienna, Aug 30 (EFE).- A fire that has devastated 90,000 hectares in northeastern Greece since it began 12 days ago was still spreading on Wednesday.

Some outbreaks that had been brought under control have reactivated, as firefighters warn of the high risk of fires in many other parts of the country.

A strong resurgence on Tuesday forced the evacuation of the town of Kotronia.

Several of the fires that have been reactivated are in steep areas where extinguishing the blaze is only possible from the air, according to public broadcaster ERT.

Since the early hours of Wednesday morning, the airborne extinguishing system has been reactivated, involving eleven planes and seven helicopters, mostly provided by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and some 500 firefighters and a hundred vehicles, many from other EU countries, are deployed in the Evros area to contain the flames.

The Evros fire is the largest fire in the European Union since records began in 2000.

The Dadia Natural Park in the Evros region has been badly affected by the flames, with experts warning that the area might never recover from the disaster.

The Society for the Protection of Biodiversity of Thrace has published several images comparing the landscape before and after the fire to show the magnitude of the destruction.

In addition to Evros, firefighters have reported high risk of fires in 13 other regions, such as the islands of Crete and Rhodes or Attica, where the capital Athens is located.

In total, so far in 2023,  about 150,000 hectares in Greece have been burned, more than 1.1% of the total area of the country. It is the second worst year since 2007 in terms of burned territory.

In the Dadia forest, Greek firefighters last week found the charred bodies of 18 people, possibly irregular migrants.

Another body, also believed to belong to a migrant, was also found, while a Greek livestock farmer died while trying to rescue his animals from the flames. EFE