Thousands forced to flee homes as Greek PM says wildfires are increasing in intensity due to climate crisis

Extreme heatwave – latest news updates

The battle to douse wildfires raging for a third day around Athens has intensified as water bombers flown in from Italy and France joined the operation to extinguish flames often fanned by strong winds.

Firefighters, backed by soldiers, police special forces, volunteers and water-dropping aircraft, resumed efforts to contain blazes that by Wednesday had encroached on the town of Megara. The fire, which initially broke out in Dervenochoria, about 18 miles (30km) north of the Greek capital, had ripped through land turned tinder dry by temperatures that surpassed 40C (104F) last week.

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