With forests parched from weeks of scorching heat waves, the authorities in Greece feared that this summer’s conditions had created more opportunities to spark catastrophic wildfires.
Those fears came true this week, with officials calling a raft of summer wildfires the worst since modern record-keeping began. On Thursday, firefighters struggled to quench hundreds of new blazes that have broken out in recent days, the most dangerous of them in the country’s north and on the outskirts of Athens.
Fierce fires earlier in the season had already ravaged acres of land on several Greek islands, causing tourists to flee during the height of the travel season, and earlier this week, Greek firefighters recovered the bodies of 18 people, among them two children, in a forest in the northern Evros region.
Here are photographs from the wildfires this week.
Burned-out vehicles in Acharnes, north of Athens.
Residents collecting what remained of their belongings in Acharnes, a city in the Attica region of Greece. More people in threatened areas were evacuated on Thursday.
A wildfire burning on Mount Parnitha, in the outskirts of Athens. Firefighters are intensifying their response by air and land as fires have threatened even more of the country.
A burned forest in Kirki, a village near Alexandroupoli.
Residents evacuated as wildfire spread in Acharnes.
A firefighting helicopter flying over a residential area at the foot of Mount Parnitha. At least 60 firefighters have been injured or sustained serious breathing problems in the recent fires, the authorities said on Thursday.
A man cried as he hurried away from the Agia Paraskevi Christian Orthodox monastery in Acharnes with an icon in hand.
Volunteers battling a fire in Menidi, near Athens.
Charred trees in the northeastern Evros region.
A man in his home in Acharnes.
Firefighters and volunteers fleeing during a wildfire in Chasia, on the outskirts of Athens. In some areas, gale-force winds have complicated firefighting efforts, and are also fueling the fires.
A fire burned on a hill behind the Parthenon.
Smoke lingered over abandoned lounge chairs and umbrellas at a beach in the village of Dikella, near Alexandroupolis.
Volunteers rescued a sheep from a burning farm in the village of Chasia.
Hospital workers evacuated patients as a wildfire burned near Alexandroupolis.
The patients from an Alexandroupolis hospital were moved to a ferry.
A burning olive tree in Alexandroupolis.
A charred car in the village of Palagia, near Alexandroupolis.
Beehives burning in Fyli, a town in the Attica region of Greece.
A farmer and his horse fled flames in Fyli.
Firefighters and volunteers trying to tackle a wildfire in Chasia.
Volunteers helping to move a man during a wildfire in the village of Avantas, near Alexandroupolis.
A wildfire burning a home in Avantas.
Firefighters battling flames near the village of Prodromos, northeast of Athens.
Residents surveyed the wildfire from a road in Avantas.
A man watched the wildfires approach in Avantas.