Hundreds of fires are blazing across Greece in what officials are calling the European Union’s most severe wildfire season since 2000.
Strong winds and rising temperatures fueled the fires in northeastern Greece, which has burned for over 10 days, according to Reuters.
Among the hundreds of fires that have engulfed the country, one of the largest occurred in Alexandroupolis, a city in the Northern province of Evros, killing at least 20 people, including two children.
Meanwhile, another major wildfire broke out on Mount Parnitha, located to the north of Athens, the nation’s capital.
The wildfires have already burned over 810 square kilometers, an area larger than New York City.
The wildfires have also burned across the Greece-Turkish border, affecting migration routes.
On Aug. 21 and 22, authorities found 18 people, who are believed to be migrants and refugees that just crossed the border from Turkey, had died in the fires.
Amnesty International said the 18 appear to be “victims of two great injustices of our times” – climate change and the lack of access to safe and legal routes for refugees and migrants.
The EU has dispatched 11 firefighting planes, one helicopter, and 400 firefighters to help Greece combat the wildfires.
This is one of the largest operations deployed by the EU, according to EU’s spokesman.
Firefighters from Albania, Serbia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic have also joined the fight.
The fires are still raging, and officials have warned people to remain cautious.
Amnesty International also pointed out that the fires have been fueling racist rhetoric against migrants, with an ultra-nationalist Greek politician using racist language to claim that migrants had started the fires.
On Friday, three men in Alexandroupolis were charged with unlawful confinement after they locked up 13 migrants who they accused of starting fires.
The men said they were carrying out a lawful citizen’s arrest without no abusive or racist motives.
The migrants, comprising 8 Syrians and 5 Pakistanis, have been granted 48 hours to respond to charges of attempted arson, manufacturing of explosives and illegal entry into the country, according to the New York Times.