Firefighters continued their efforts to contain fires in several fronts in Greece as of Tuesday night, with fires northwest of Athens threatening an industrial area, in Viotia of central Greece raging out of control, in Alexandroupolis resulting in hospital and village evacuations around the major port city, and in central Evia giving hopes that possible rekindlings will not wipe out progress achieved so far in containing the fire fronts.
Progress seen in containing central Evia fires
The large fires in central Evia were contained on Tuesday evening, thanks to the efforts of firefighters by land and air since morning.
The threat of rekindlings however remains very high, as there are several dispersed pockets of fire in Psachna and Nea Artaki, towns north of Chalkidiki, which could threaten developments.
Wind factors are still difficult, since they shift directions constantly, and firefighters and ground teams along with 2 water-dropping airplanes and 2 helicopters operating during daylight hours fought to restrict rekindlings.
According to initial estimates, over 500 hectares have been burnt these past two days (earlier reports in the day assessed them at over 650 hectares). So far there have been no reports for burnt homes and businesses, and several were saved from the flames.
All forces will remain in place through the night and try to restrict rekindlings.
The municipality of Chalkida, Evia’s main town, had said at noon that there were in the area of the fires 110 firefighters with a 20-member team from France, the latter with their own fire trucks. Additionally, 35 water trucks were being used, along with army machinery and private cars, while staff and teams of forest services were also assisting in firefighting.
The university’s preparations protected the hospital, rector says
The Democritus University of Thrace had taken enough fire prevention measures as of the summer of 2022 as to serve “as a shield around the hospital” of Alexandroupolis, Rector Fotis Maris told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA). During the fire, and in collaboration with Civil Protection and the region’s deputy governor, they “extended the firelanes in length and width, which worked and with the help of ground firefighting forces stopped the fire 10 meters away from buildings, which were not harmed at all,” he said.
The greatest issue right now is lack of power, from the damage by the fires, but he said he was certain HEDNO, the power operator, teams would build new pillars for electricity by Wednesday and add medium voltage transformers on them to resolve the issue. “I believe we have managed the crisis and the university acted as a shielf for the university hospital,” he told ANA-MPA, referring to the building of the port city’s main hospital, whose patients were evacuated onto a ship.
Power outages in the two main cables feeding Samothrace have also left the island in the dark, with government agencies trying to deliver generators as quickly as possible.
Fire in Platani, Chalkidiki peninsula, is put out
A fire that broke out in a mixed-use land in Platani, northwest Chalkidiki peninsula, was put out on Tuesday evening.
Mayor of Polygyros Asterios Zografos expressed his appreciation on social media posts to staff of the Fire Brigade, the municipality, and the region as well as to volunteers for their efforts. “We all need to be careful and vigilant over the next few days, because the danger is not over,” he said.
Four fire fronts out of control in Viotia
Meanwhile, in Viotia, there are four ongoing fire fronts, as major part of the prefecture appears to be either fighting flames or be covered by dense smoke. Strong winds and dry conditions were not helpful.
Two fires that began in Chostia and Tarsos on Monday, two separate fronts, appear to be approaching each other to mege, which would create a large front, out of control. A total of 9 coastal communities have been evacuated while the fire moved south to the Mornos River canal.
In Iliki, a fire broke out at midday now has a front of over 5 km long on the mountain, to the right of the Athens-Thessaloniki National Road, and burns everything in its path.
In Moschopodi, a new fire broke out at a grassland region next to industrial storage, and it went out of control when it reached a forest region and a pine region. A military camp is nearby, raising fears of a spreading fire reaching it, while 4 aircraft were trying to dampen its progress. Right now it is burning low brush but the winds are very strong in the region.
Fyli and Aspopyrgos fires out of control
The fires that broke out this morning in Fyli and Aspropyrgos west of Athens are still raging. The Fire Brigade said the Fyli fire started near a monastery, where 50 individuals were evacuated, while it is moving fast to the east. A series of evacuations include Fyli, Ano Liossia, Gennimatas, Kanala, Panorama and Agios Ioannis Rossos Dardiza.
A total of 164 firefighters with 62 fire trucks and 3 ground teams are working to control the fire of Fyli, while 9 aircraft and 10 helicopters helped by air during daylight.
In the Aspropyrgos region, meanwhile, several pockets of fire are burning, with three of them breaking out this morning in the regions of Lakka Katsari, Nea Zoi, and Ammoundies, near the industrial zone of the city, with some damage to industrial facilities. A fourth fire broke out behind Thriassio Hospital as well later in the morning.