A deadly heat wave that has affected much of southern Europe moderated Friday, allowing firefighters in Greece to contain major wildfires in the south of the country.

The situation is improving in the southern Greek province of Achaea, where wildfires had killed three elderly people and destroyed about 100 homes this week.

But, scores of new forest fires were reported Friday in northern Greece, forcing more residents to evacuate.

Two large firefighting planes from Russia are due to arrive in Greece Saturday, following an appeal by Athens to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile, Italy's government declared its central and southern regions as disaster areas Friday after a week of devastating fires that killed five people. The move allows Rome to compensate victims.

Environmental group WWF (World Wildlife Fund) says some of the Italian fires were started deliberately. The group says they have burned 9,000 hectares of protected areas.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.