Skies over southern Greece turned an orange hue on Tuesday as dust clouds blown across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa engulfed the Acropolis and other Athens landmarks.

Strong southerly winds carried the dust from the Sahara Desert, giving the atmosphere of the Greek capital a Martian-like filter in the last hours of daylight.

A man walks down a hill over a cityscape with an  orange sky
A man makes his way down a hill as dust from the Sahara Desert covers the city of Athens on Tuesday. (Louisa Gouliamaki/Reuters)

The skies are predicted to clear on Wednesday as winds shift and move the dust, with temperatures dipping. On Tuesday, the daily high in parts of the southern island of Crete topped 30 C, more than 20 C higher than what was registered in much of northern Greece.

The strong southerly winds over the past few days have also fanned unseasonal early wildfires in the country’s south.

A man takes a photo of orange skies
A man takes pictures of the orange sky over Athens. (Louisa Gouliamaki/Reuters)

The fire service said Tuesday evening that 25 wildfires broke out across the country in the past 24 hours. Three people were arrested on the Aegean Sea resort island of Paros on suspicion of accidentally starting a scrub blaze on Monday, it added. No significant damage or injuries were reported, and the fire was quickly contained.

Another blaze that broke out on Crete near a naval base was brought under control Tuesday.

Greece suffers devastating, and often deadly, forest blazes every summer, and last year the country recorded the European Union’s largest wildfire in more than two decades. Persistent drought combined with high spring temperatures have raised fears of a particularly challenging period for firefighters in the coming months.

A group of young people walk up a hill over a cityscape, with an orange haze in the sky
Tourists walk at the Lycabettus hill on Tuesday. The Acropolis and other Athens landmarks took on Martian hues as stifling dust clouds blown across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa engulfed the Greek capital. (Petros Giannakouris/The Associated Press)

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