Europe continues to struggle with some of the worst wildfires the region has seen in decades.

Experts have blamed climate change for the wildfires ravaging Italy, Greece and other countries.
Experts have blamed climate change for the wildfires ravaging Italy, Greece and other countries. (AP)

The wildfires that have left behind a trail of destruction in more than a dozen countries across the world, continue to ravage parts of Europe especially Italy and Greece. 

A blistering heat wave is sweeping across Italy this week, fuelling fires in the south of the country, notably Sicily and Calabria, where a UNESCO-designated natural park Aspromonte is threatened.

Temperatures hit 47 degrees Celsius (116 degrees Fahrenheit) in Sicily on Tuesday, near Syracuse, with meteorologists warning that Italy's all-time record of 48.5 degrees, in Sicily in 1999, could be beaten when records are taken on Wednesday.

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Elsewhere in the south of Italy, the anticyclone dubbed Lucifer was forecast to send the mercury rising to 39-42 degrees  before sweeping northwards toward Rome. 

The island of Sicily and the region of Calabria have already been battling fires throughout the summer — many caused by arson but fuelled by the heat — with firefighters recording 300 interventions in the past 12 hours.

The Madonie mountain range, near the Sicilian capital Palermo, has for several days been besieged by flames that have destroyed crops, animals, homes and industrial buildings.

Sicily's governor, Nello Musumeci, called for a state of emergency to be declared for the mountains. 

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Greece counts cost 

In Greece, firefighters have been deployed to fight a massive blaze in the Peloponnese region of Gortynia.

Athens has started to count the cost from wildfires that have scorched their way through thousands of hectares, leaving three dead, hundreds homeless, causing incalculable damage and capsizing the critical tourism season.

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The fires have been fanned by the country's most severe heatwave in decades and the authorities have pointed the finger at climate change, which experts say increases the intensity and frequency of such extreme weather events.

Algeria has meanwhile become the latest Mediterranean country to be hit by devastating wildfires this summer. 

A huge multinational force has been deployed to back fire crews on the Greek island Evia, where the town of Istiaia has been under threat for days. 

From July 29 to August 11, more than 93,000 hectares (231,000 acres) were burned in Greece, according to the European Forest Fire Information System. 

The average area burned over the same period between 2008 and 2020 was 2,330 hectares.

EU states and other countries have so far contributed 21 aircraft, 250 vehicles and more than 1,200 firefighters, some of whom were due to arrive by Friday.

Support from abroad has helped avert an even greater disaster in Greece. 

Top public safety officials who as recently as June had insisted that Greece was well-prepared to deal with the situation are not facing calls for resignation. 

There was additional anger over the loss last week of much of the forest of Varibobi, one of Athens' last remaining nature reserves. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies