More Polish firefighters sent to Greece fight devastating fires

Tomasz Gzell/PAP

Another group of Polish firefighters has landed in Athens to help fight the severe wildfires that have devastated areas of the country.

The firefighters travelled to Greece following an appeal from the Greek authorities, and will replace a group already in the country, the Polish State Fire Service reported on Monday.

"The Greek side has asked Poland to let the new group of firefighters stay in Greece for two weeks," Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik told reporters upon their departure on Monday morning.

The decision to send Polish firefighters to Greece was announced by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on August 7 after Kyriakos Mitsotakis, his Greek peer, asked for help.

PAP was told by the fire service HQ at that time that it was sending 46 vehicles to Greece along with 143 firefighters.

The firefighters, who were initially scheduled to return to Poland in mid-August, stayed longer than planned at the request of the Greek authorities.

On August 19, Polish firefighters saved the Greek village of Vilia Attica, near Athens, from wildfires that laid waste to hectares of forests around the Greek capital.

August, which began with Greece's most severe heat wave in about three decades, has quickly turned into one of the country's most destructive fire seasons, with dozens of wildfires breaking out every day across the country. Thousands of people have been forced to flee the flames, which have devoured forests, agricultural land, homes and businesses.

On Monday, a fire broke out in the south of Evia, Greece's second-largest island, and another one in the Vilia area northwest of Athens.