Forest fire in Greece threatens Olympics birthplace

A forest fire in Greece has threatened the archaeological site at the birthplace of the modern Olympics amid the protracted European heatwave.

Firefighters waged “an all-night battle” overnight on Wednesday to protect the site from fire in the southern Peloponnese region near ancient Olympia, said Citizens Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis.

“We will continue the battle all day in order to contain all the fronts and extinguish the fire. The conditions are difficult,” Chrisochoidis said on Thursday.

The site is where the Olympics were held every four years from 776 BC for more than a millennium.

Regional Governor Nektarios Farmakis told state television it had been “saved for the time being”, but warned the danger was “not over”.

He hoped the fire would be brought under control with helicopters and firefighting planes.

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

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