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Forest fire flames can be seen in a northeastern suburb of Athens, Greece, on Aug. 3. Photo: Dimitris Lampropoulos/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Over 500 firefighters have been leading efforts to control wildfires near Athens, with Greece’s fire service saying on Wednesday that it hopes to bring the flames under control "in the coming hours," AFP reports.

The big picture: More than 75 wildfires broke out in Greece on Tuesday and Wednesday as the country faces its most intense heat wave in decades — temperatures in Athens have reached 43°C (109.4°F), according to Meteo France meteorologist Etienne Kapikian.

  • This was a record high for any time of the year, Kapikian reported via Twitter. All-time and monthly records were set elsewhere across Greece and in Turkey, where fires are also raging amid searing, prolonged heat.
  • Some locations also set records for the highest overnight temperatures seen for the entire European continent, though Europe's all-time high-temperature record of 48°C (118.4°F) remains intact.
  • Thousands of people across Greece have been forced to evacuate due to the raging wildfires, while some in Athens are being advised to stay indoors.
  • The extreme heat prompted the Ministry of Culture to close the Acropolis and other ancient sites during the afternoons this week, CNN reports.

Context: The heat wave can be traced to persistent winds from the southwest, transporting air from Africa across the mild waters of the Mediterranean, along with a high-pressure area, or "heat dome," sitting over southeastern Europe.

In photos:
A firefighter battles against a wildfire in Acharnes, Greece, on Aug. 3. Photo: Marios Lolos/Xinhua via Getty Images
A burned-out home after a forest fire in the Varibobi area of northern Athens. Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/Picture alliance via Getty Images
Firefighters try to extinguish the flames in a burning house in the Varibobi district of northern Athens. Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/Picture alliance via Getty Images
A helicopter drops water over a forest fire in the Varibobi area of northern Athens. Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/Picture alliance via Getty Images
Firefighters battle against a wildfire in Varibobi, Greece, on Aug. 3. Photo: Marios Lolos/Xinhua via Getty Images
A firefighter battles against a wildfire in Varibobi, Greece, on Aug. 3. Photo: Marios Lolos/Xinhua via Getty Images
A major forest fire broke out on Tuesday afternoon in the foothills of Mount Parnitha, about 10 miles northeast of Athens. Photo: Marios Lolos/Xinhua via Getty Images
Forest burns in the area of Dekeleia near Athens on Aug. 3 Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP via Getty Images
A fireman attempts to extinguish a fire in the yard of a house in the northern suburbs of Athens on Aug. 3. Photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
A highway road is closed because of a wildfire in the area of Tatoi on Aug. 3. Photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
Firefighters work on a wildfire, in Labiri, near Patras, on July 31. Photo: STR/Eurokinissi/AFP via Getty Images
A firefighter water-dropping helicopter flies over Labiri, near Patras, on July 31. Photo: STR/Eurokinissi/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper

Southern California beaches reopen, as oil spill cleanup continues

Oil spill cleanup workers search for contaminated sand and seaweed at Huntington Beach in California on Oct. 9. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

A Southern California coastal area closed since one of the largest oil spills in the state's recent history struck over a week ago reopened Monday, as cleanup efforts continue.

The latest: Huntington Beach's reopening Monday came sooner than many expected, after water quality tests came back with no detectable levels of oil associated toxins in the ocean water, AP reports.

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.