Large forest fires near Athens, residents and tourists evacuated

As Greece faces an intense heat wave, forest fires broke out on Monday. Many people had to be evacuated, including 1,200 children who were in summer camps.


Firefighters continued to fight, Tuesday, July 18, for the second day in a row, wildfires near Athens. Many residents had to be evacuated from the affected coastal areas in the grip of the heat wave.

“Our main concern is the protection of human life,” firefighter spokesman Yannis Artopios said Tuesday morning during a press briefing, stressing that the fight against the flames continued.

The fiercest front of the fire took place on Tuesday at the Dervenohoria forest, 50 km north of Athens, where 140 firefighters are operating, supported by six water bombers and a helicopter, according to Yannis Artopios.

In the coastal area 40 km from Athens in Kouvaras, where the fire started on Monday before being carried by intense winds to the neighboring towns of Anavyssos and Lagonissi, many residents had to leave their homes in the evening. , after calls from the authorities. to move away from the area.

Several houses were burned, according to images broadcast by the public television channel ERT, and an equestrian center, threatened by the flames, as well as a monastery were evacuated.

On Tuesday, 230 firefighters and 5 helicopters continued to operate in this coastal area, and traffic remained disrupted on the roads around the affected locations.

Heat wave episode

A third fire was still burning at the seaside resort of Loutraki, about 80 km west of the Greek capital, near the Isthmus of Corinth, where 1,200 children had been evacuated the previous day from fire-threatened holiday camps.

On this front, 120 firefighters, five planes and a helicopter continued the fight against the flames on Tuesday.

Like part of Europe, Greece has been hit by the first heat wave of the year since last Friday, with a peak of 44.2 ° C in the region of Thebes (center), according to the Athens National Observatory.

On Sunday evening, the thermometer started to drop slightly and the Climate Crisis Ministry warned of the “increased risk” of fires due to strong winds blowing between 50 and 60 km/h.

Forest fires are common in Greece in the summer. In 2021, huge fires ravaged part of the country, killing three people and destroying more than 100,000 hectares of forest.

In 2018, more than 100 people died in Mati, near Athens, in the worst fatal fire in the country.


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