Greek firefighters fight forest fire for third day | News from Greece


The emergency service ensures that the main part of the flame is controlled as weather conditions improve.

Hundreds of firefighters have been fighting for a third day over a forest fire west of the Greek capital, Athens, and have controlled the main front of the blaze as weather conditions improved.

With the support of 16 planes and the army, more than 270 firefighters fought the fire in the Geraneia mountain range, described by the authorities as “one of the largest” in recent decades.

Speaking to local television ANT1 on Saturday, fire chief Stefanos Kolokouris said better weather conditions had allowed firefighters to control the main front of the outbreak on Friday afternoon, but “active and scattered” flames still remain.

No injuries were reported, but several houses have been damaged or destroyed and a dozen villages and hamlets have been evacuated.

Greece faces violent forest fires every summer, fueled by dry weather, strong winds and high temperatures [Valerie Gache/AFP]

Euthymios Lekkas, a professor of environmental disaster management at the University of Athens, said the fires about 90 kilometers from Athens have burned more than 55 square kilometers of pine forest and other land, some of them agricultural.

“It’s a huge ecological disaster that needs to work to prevent landslides and terrible floods in the fall,” he told public television ERT.

The extent of the damage, especially for farmers, will only become clear once the fire is fully under control, the civil protection agency said.

The blaze was said to have started Wednesday afternoon near the village of Schinos, near the town of Loutraki in the Gulf of Corinth, apparently someone burning vegetation in an olive grove.

The smoke of the fire suffocated Athens with ashes falling from the sky. It was the first forest fire of the season.

Greece faces violent forest fires every summer, fueled by dry weather, strong winds and temperatures that often rise above 30 ºC (86 Fahrenheit).

In 2018, 102 people died at the coastal station of Mati, near Athens, in the worst fire disaster in Greece.

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