Is it safe to travel to Greece? Here’s everything you need to know about the wildfires

By Rhona Shennan
Friday, 16 August, 2019, 12:06
This picture shows wildfire smokes near the village of Stavros on the island of Evia (Photo: Getty Images)

Holidaymakers in Greece have been issued with safety warnings due to the severity of the country’s ongoing spate of forest fires.

While the initial blazes started in the Psachna region, the warnings extend to areas 70 miles away in Athens.

Warning from the authorities

Greek authorities have advised that anyone with breathing difficulties should stay indoors and switch off their air conditioning units.

Authorities have also evacuated villages in Evia as a precaution, due to the wildfire alert remaining at a category five, which is a red alert.

Due to a wildfire in Illea region, “the National road between Payras and Pyrgos has been closed,” according to the government foriegn travel advice.

The wildfires have been ongoing in the Psachna area on the island of Evia and on the Corianthiakos Bay area of Thiva. The smoke from these areas are also affecting those in Athens due to strong winds.

Greek City Times reported that “a tourist camp and nearby houses on the island of Elafonisos, in southern Greece, have been evacuated” on Sunday 11 August.

Wildfires

In 2018, Greece was ravaged by wildfires that ripped through the pine forests surrounding Athens that left 100 people dead,

The UK Government website says, “Forest fires often occur during the summer months across Greece due to the dry/hot weather.”

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It advises that visitors should take care when visiting, or driving through woodland areas, and that smokers should take care that cigarette ends are properly put out. It also advises against lighting barbecues.

“Causing a forest fire is treated as a criminal offence in Greece even if unintentional,” the website explains.

Natural disasters in Greece

The foreign travel advice office also states that Greece can also suffer from other natural disasters.

“Greece can experience earthquakes and earth tremors,” it says.

The Greek General Secretariat for Civil Protection has issued advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

This advice included:

Take cover under sturdy furniture such as a table or desk, kneel down and hold its legsMove away from glass and exterior wallsIf you’re outdoors, move away from buildings, electric or telephone cablesIf you’re driving, avoid tunnels, bridges and pedestrian overpasses

This article originally appeared on our sister site Edinburgh Evening News