Greece: Firefighters battle to save Olympic site as wildfires rage across southern Europe

ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman reports from the Greek island of Evia that has been devastated by wildfires

Firefighters in Greece have waged an "all night battle" to save the site of the ancient Olympic Games from forest fires fuelled by soaring temperatures.

The site where the Olympics was held every four years from 776 BCE for more than a millennium is being threatened by major forest fires that are sweeping the southern Greek region of the Peloponnese amid a heatwave that has seen temperatures rise to 45C.

“We will continue the battle all day in order to contain all the fronts and extinguish the fire. The conditions are difficult,” Citizens Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis said, congratulating the firefighters for what he described as heroic efforts so far.

'I've lost everything right now' - Eleni Alexandridi lost her life's work in the fire

ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman was in the village of Rovies on the Greek island of Evia where quick thinking residents were able to save some of the houses by chopping down trees to create a makeshift firebreak.

But others weren't so lucky.

Eleni Alexandridi runs an English language school in the village - she lost her school and her life's work in the blaze.

"It was all I had - this is my property, this is my job. This was my property, this was my job.

"I've lost everything right now," she tells ITV News.

Farmer Vasilis Govas knows the feeling, "it's our livelihood," he tells ITV News.

"We're sad for the people that we know - they lost their houses, their fortunes, their work.

"All around there's a general pessimism."

The same area was ravaged by wildfires in 2007 that killed dozens of people but spared Olympia’s ruined sports venues and temples.

The fire department said 174 firefighters, nine ground teams, 52 vehicles, two water-dropping planes and four helicopters were tackling the fire.

Residents flee as a wildfire threatened a power station in Turkey

Greece has seen more than 100 wildfires break out over 24 hours from late on Tuesday.Conditions are being exacerbated by Greece's worst heatwave since 1987 that is forecast to last until at least Sunday that has created tinder-dry conditions in shrub land and forests.

Extreme weather has also fuelled deadly wildfires in Turkey and blazes in Italy, Albania and across the Mediterranean region.

A blaze in Turkey threatened a power station. Credit: AP

Turkey has been hit by its worst wildfires in decades that have raged for nine days amid scorching heat, low humidity and constantly shifting strong winds. The fires have so far killed eight people and countless animals.

In south-west Turkey residents were forced to flee in boats and cars as a wildfire reached the compound of a coal-fuelled power plant. It was finally contained on Thursday after raging for some 11 hours.

A European Union disaster response group said firefighters and water-dropping planes were being sent to Italy, Greece, Albania and North Macedonia.

The EU Atmosphere Monitoring Service said smoke plumes from the region’s wildfires were clearly visible in satellite images, which also showed that the intensity of the wildfires in Turkey was at the highest level since records started in 2003.