Greece wildfires: Bodies found in forest close to border ‘could be migrants from Turkey’, say firefighters

A disaster victim identification team is currently working to identify the bodies which were found in the Alexandroupolis region.

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Eighteen bodies have been found in an area of northern Greece where firefighters have been battling a huge wildfire over the past four days. The bodies were found near a shack in the Avanta area of the Alexandroupolis region, close to Greece’s borders with Turkey and Bulgaria.

It is understood a disaster victim identification team is currently working to identify the bodies in the Dadia forest. It comes as hundreds of firefighters struggle to contain dozens of wildfire outbreaks across the country, several of which have forced widespread evacuations.

Ioannis Artopios, spokesperson for the Greek fire service, said that it was possible the casualties were migrants who had entered the country from Turkey. Firefighters think this may be the case as no reports of missing people have been filed in the Alexandroupolis region.

This is the second deadly wave of wildfire outbreaks in Greece amid a record-breaking summer heatwave with temperatures of up to 41C. In July, five people died after several parts of Greece saw wildfire outbreaks.

A house burning during a wildfire in Avanta, near Alexandroupoli, northern Greece. Wildfires have hot the region in the past few days.A house burning during a wildfire in Avanta, near Alexandroupoli, northern Greece. Wildfires have hot the region in the past few days.
A house burning during a wildfire in Avanta, near Alexandroupoli, northern Greece. Wildfires have hot the region in the past few days.

Now more than 60 fires had erupted in the last 24 hours including on the islands of Evia and Kythnos, and in the region of Boeotia, which is just north of Athens. Around 120 firefighters have been drafted in from six neighbouring countries including Cyprus, Romania, Germany and Serbia via the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

On Tuesday (August 22), a blaze broke out at a landfill site in the industrial zone of Aspropyrgos, shrouding the area in black smoke. Greece is just one of many European countries that has been ravaged by wildfires in recent days including Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Croatia and France.