Greece, Turkiye: Authorities in Turkiye close Ipsala border crossing with Greece

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Authorities in Turkiye closed the Ipsala border crossing with Greece on Aug. 20 due to an uncontained wildfire burning near Alexandroupoli. All roads on the Greek side of the border approaching Greece's Kipi Border Station are closed to traffic as emergency crews continue working to contain the blaze as of Aug. 20. Residual disruptions may occur even after the crossing reopens to cross-border traffic after the fire is contained.

The fire started in the Greek village of Melia on Aug. 19. Authorities ordered the evacuation of five additional villages on Aug. 20 - Avantas, Monastiraki, Doriskos, Amfitritis, and Maistros - after evacuating at least eight villages on Greece's northeastern border with Turkiye on Aug. 19. The blaze has damaged homes in several evacuated villages.

Traffic remains suspended on a section of Egnatia Road. At least 130 firefighting personnel and 14 water-dropping planes are deployed to try and contain the fire. Officials have advised residents in Alexandroupoli to keep their windows and doors closed due to heavy smoke. There have been no reports of injuries.

Depending on the progression of the wildfires, the status of nearby roads could change over the coming hours and days. Authorities could close additional routes within the wildfire complexes and evacuate more communities due to fire activity and the needs of response operators. The return of residents could disrupt traffic flows after authorities lift evacuation orders. Heavy smoke, low visibility, and possible ashfall could contribute to traffic delays, congestion, and air transport disruptions in the region.

Fire Advice

Heed all evacuation orders. Seek updated information on road conditions if driving in the affected area; road closures and detours will cause increased congestion and delays. Collect essential items - including identification and any important legal and travel documents - in an easily accessible "go-bag." Charge battery-powered devices in the case of prolonged power outages.

Individuals not under evacuation warnings should consider remaining inside well-ventilated, air-conditioned spaces to reduce exposure to smoke. Individuals with chronic respiratory illnesses may be more susceptible to the negative effects of smoke inhalation. Eye irritation is possible; flush irritated eyes with copious amounts of clean water.

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