From north to south, and East to West… Greece is ablaze!

From north to south, and from east to west, all of Greece seems to be on fire today as dozens of fires are currently being tackled with from Greek fire-fighters. Last week it was Corfu and Zante, this week other areas. Forest fires have claimed more than ten percent of Greece’s forests between 1983 and 2008, according to the findings of a report entitled “Forest Fires of Greece: 1983-2008” that was released last month. In roughly half these fires, the original cause remains unknown. The total expanse of territory burnt during that period is estimated at just over 1.3613 million hectares or 1,200 square metres for every resident in the country.

Ioannina – A fire was reported on Friday in a region of forest near the village of Mikri Gotista, near the mountain resort of Metsovo in Ioannina prefecture. A force of 16 firemen and six vehicles, assisted by a 16-man team on foot and four water-bombing aircraft from the air has been sent to put out the blaze.The work of fire-fighters was being hampered by the inaccessible location and mountainous territory but no homes were threatened.

Viotia – A wildfire broke out on Friday in a forestland in the region of Parorio in Viotia prefecture, central Greece. Twenty firefighters with nine fire engines, 17 firemen on foot and four water-bombing aircraft are trying to extinguish the blaze that was burning through olive groves, grassland and brush land without threatening inhabited areas. The wildfires on the northeast Aegean island of Lesvos and the Ionian Sea island of Corfu were still burning. Firefighting efforts continue.

Lesvos – Fires were repeatedly reigniting on Friday in the fire-stricken region of Nyfida, in the south of the Aegean island of Lesvos. The fire had broken out on two fronts on Thursday, near the village Polichnitos, and the two fronts had later joined and burned through swathes of pasture, scrub land and olive groves, though no residential areas were threatened. Fire fighting officials said that a large front was under partial control at Agios Fokas at around 4:00 p.m. but not the front at Nyfida. They appeared hopeful that it would be under control before nightfall, however, given that weather conditions were more favourable than on the previous day. The Northern Aegean Fire Brigade commander Diamantis Kanellopoulos described the fire as “abating” and expressed confidence that it would soon be under control since winds were not as strong as on Thursday.  Early reports indicate that at least one of the fires was caused by arson due to negligence and authorities are seeking a man that was doing welding work in the open air, producing sparks that set fire to dried grass in the area. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the second front, though arson has not been ruled out.

Gythio, Laconia – A wildfire that broke out late on Thursday in the region of Ano Tompra, west of Gythio in Laconia prefecture, located in the southern province of Peloponnese, has burned its way through the village of Lygereas, threatening private houses and destroying forest land and crops. Fifteen firemen with seven fire engines, 15 firemen on foot and four water-bombing aircraft participated in the firefighting efforts.

(Combined reports, Sources ANA)


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