A wildfire whipped on by strong winds has triggered a series of massive explosions at an air force ammunition depot in central Greece while firefighters work to tame multiple blazes in the country.

There were no injuries at the depot, which had been evacuated before the explosions, and by late Thursday the fire was no longer active.

Greece needs to take more steps to combat the effects of climate change, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, as wildfires on the mainland overnight burned farms and factories.

Mitsotakis said Greece needed to reform its fire fighting and fire prevention policies and do more to alleviate the effects of climate change.

“The climate crisis may be a reality but it cannot be an excuse,” he said during a meeting with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

“Our country ought to take more steps… to be ready to mitigate, as much as possible, the effects of a reality that we are already starting to feel, and that could have dramatic effects on many different aspects of our economic and social life,” he said.

The Greek air force said that F-16 fighter jets at a nearby base were moved to another facility as a precaution but that the base had not been under any immediate threat.

Fires have raged across parts of Greece during three successive Mediterranean heat waves in the past two weeks, leaving five people dead, including two firefighting pilots, and triggering a huge weekend relocation of tourists on the island of Rhodes.

The fire brigade said more than 500 wildfires have burned across the country so far this year. The fire brigade said 74 firefighters were injured, or suffered heat stroke, while battling the blazes over the past 10 days.

The fire in the Volos area of central Greece’s Magnissia region reached the ammunition storage facility about 6km north of the major military air base in Nea Anchialos.

Local media reported that bombs and ammunition for Greek F-16 fighters were stored at the site.

The large explosions shattered windows on houses in a surrounding area but the Greek fire service said no severe injuries were reported in nearby villages, which also were evacuated as a pre-caution.

Fire Service spokesman Ioannis Artopios said 12 villages were ordered evacuated in the Volos-Nea Anchialos area.

“Despite their superhuman efforts, our forces were unable to stop the blaze,” he said.

Artopios said the Volos area blaze was the most dangerous of the 124 wildfires the fire service had to deal with on Thursday.

The wildfire burned on three fronts and forced a section of Greece’s busiest highway to close for several hours while rail services passing through the area were delayed.

State ERT television showed residents and visitors in the coastal village of Anchialos, 4km from the blast site, leaving by sea while others were leaving in cars and buses.

The coast guard said more than a hundred residents were taken in small private boats to the city of Volos.

The Nea Anchialos air base is 20km from the city, where loud blasts could be heard.

Water-dropping helicopters and a ground crew scrambled early on Thursday to a separate wildfire in Kifissia, just north of Athens, which was quickly put out.

Greek firefighters also battled flames for a 10th successive day on Rhodes, where officials said the blazes were largely contained while flare-ups were reported on the island of Evia.While summer fires are common in Greece, scientists say higher temperatures and dryer weather are turning it into a Mediterranean hotspot for climate change.

Large areas of the Mediterranean have sweltered under an intense summer heatwave in recent days, and firefighters have been battling to put out blazes across the region, from Portugal to Sicily to Algeria.

Source: AAP