Death Toll Climbs in Greece Wildfires

Firefighting planes fly over the trees near the fire damaged village of Neos Voutzas near Athens. // Photo by AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis via Newscred

A series of wildfires in Greece near Athens has killed at least 80 people, multiple media outlets are reporting.

According to Reuters UK, the fires broke out Wednesday in the eastern resort town of Mati, a coastal town reportedly popular with local tourists in the Attica region, approximately 18 miles east of Athens. As of Wednesday the death toll from the blaze stood at 80, with rescue workers continuing to search for signs of the missing, who still number around 40.

CBS News reports that the cause of the wildfires, which broke out as Greece experienced record-high temperatures and extremely dry conditions, remains unconfirmed.

“Fifteen fires were started simultaneously on three different fronts in Athens,” Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told CBS News. The government of Greece has requested drones from the United States to attempt to “detect any suspicious activity.”

According to the BBC, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has declared three days of mourning, as well as a state of emergency in Attica. Additionally, a Supreme Court prosecutor has ordered a probe into the cause of the fire, with allegations circulating that there was no evacuation plan in place and that emergency services were too slow to respond to the situation.

Flight Updates

The fires have forced a number of flight changes from major airlines.

Aegean Airlines reports that it was forced to cancel a number of flights on Monday, and that a special provision has been made for all passengers affected.

American Airlines is offering a change waiver for customers set to travel through July 31 through Athens. Rebooked travel must take place through July 31 between the same city pair in the same cabin (or pay the difference).

United Airlines is also offering a change waiver for travelers set to fly through Athens through July 29. Travel must take place through August 4 in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) between the same city pair.

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