Hundreds of Wildfires Rage Across Greece, Killing 20

Aug 24, 2023

A second deadly wave of wildfires in less than a month is threatening Greece. Hundreds of blazes on either end of the country are killing people. Many have been forced to evacuate. And large swaths of the Mediterranean nation have been scorched.

At least 20 people have died in the past few days.  Of those, at least 18 of them are believed to be migrants who entered the country through Turkey. The bodies of two others were found in fires in northern and central Greece. Hot, dry conditions, and high winds are fanning the flames. Scientists link the conditions to climate change.

"This summer is the worst," on record Vassilis Kikilias said. He's Greece's climate crisis and civil protection minister.

Kikilias said firefighters had battled 209 blazes in the past 48 hours alone. Many parts of the country are at Level 5 for fire risk for the seventh time in 2023. That's twice the total in 2021, and four times more than in 2019, Kikilias said.

In the western city of Menidi, 150 elderly people were evacuated to safer locations. Across the country, in the city of Alexandroupolis, dozens of hospital patients were loaded onto a ferry to escape the flames. In the nearby Daria Forest, 18 burned bodies of men and boys were found near a shack. The forest is near the border with Turkey.

The fires may be bringing out the worst in some people. Many villagers are blaming migrants for setting them without any evidence. One Greek man was caught by police after locking refugees in his trailer in an attempt to “arrest” them for supposedly trying to burn Greeks. 

Photo from Reuters.

Reflect: What are some ways that people can help prevent or reduce the impact of natural disasters like wildfires?

Which conclusion is best supported by the details in the story? (Common Core RI.5.1; RI.6.1)
a. The severity of the wildfires this summer is not related to climate change.
b. Evacuations of nursing homes and hospitals have not been necessary.
c. Wildfires in Greece have been particularly severe this summer.
d. There have been fewer fires this year compared to previous years in Greece.
For more formative assessments, visit to start a free trial.

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