All of Greece is in flames. Devastating fires have erupted all over the country and hundreds of fire-fighters, along with French and Spanish water bombers on Saturday held back wildfires on several fronts around the country after an all-night struggle. Meanwhile, Residents from the three villages that were evacuated yesterday in the southern Peloponnese returned to their homes today.
Fire fighting officials said that the investigation is currently underway on the causes of the wildfires and arson is being examined. Greece expected six fire fighting aircraft from European allies, but only four were dispatched to Greece because two Italian ones are currently tackling similar fires in Southern Italy.
A 35 year old Albanian national has apparently been arrested on charges of arson. No further details were released.
Nonetheless, and until the time of print, the situation still remains critical in areas such as Evros, Mesologhi and Arcadia. Gush winds in the area are not helping fire-fighters to tackle the flames.
At the moment, some eight Canadair airplanes, two helicopters and 132 fire-fighters (with 67 trucks) are battling the blazes. The General Secretariat for Civil Protection warned that the weekend will be very difficult, due to strong winds.
Specifically, the areas in the “red zone” are the prefectures of Evros, Aitoloakarnanias, Attica, Viotia, Evia, Achaia, Corinth, and Argolida, in the western part of Laconia, in the Cyclades, the Sporades, Limnos and Thasos.
- EVROS – The fire in Evros has totally raged out of control. Late on Friday the fire also threatened several homes. An evacuation of the area was made, and no casualties have been reported. While this was going on, another front began blazing in Kavisou, which threatened a military camp area as well as the park of Agia Paraskevi Ferron. Another fire was also said to have sparked in some cultivated areas near the city of Alexandroupolis. Luckily it was extinguished quickly.
- ARCADIA – The state of Arcadia was totally ablaze yesterday urging authorities to sound a state of emergency to all local communities there. This has led to the evacuation of three villages. A total of 16 wildfires were reported throughout the Peloponnese, with the Arcadia blaze the most worrying. Towns and villages such as Agriakona, Daphne, and Kaltezas, Mavroyiannis, Valtetsiou were reported to be in danger. The fire here also caused problems in the power network and interrupted power supply.AMFISSA – A fire broke out in this area as well near Malandrino. Some 25 fire-fighters were called to the scene right away with 11 vehicles, as well as one helicopter and two aircraft.
- PATRAS – In progress is a major fire that broke out Friday afternoon near the industrial area of Patras, specifically near the communities Chaikalis and Peristeri. The flames in the village Chaikalis, burned two houses and a church and caused much damage to several acres of crops. A fire truck was engulfed in flames, but miraculously reports said that the two fire-fighters that were trapped in the truck had survived and no serious injuries were reported. At the moment, strong winds are still blowing in the industrial area, the flames, however, have been put under control. Smaller-scale fires also erupted in areas such as Sychena and Bozaitika near Patra, but were reported to be under control. MESSOLONGHI – Authorities here called for a state of emergency. No further details were released.
- MESSINIA – A fire broke out in Messinia on Friday at noon near the towns of Metaxada.
- FOKIDA – In Maladrino, Fokida, the fire reached the area’s prison facility. Luckily for fire fighters, the wind changed direction and prevented a catastrophe. Two other fire fronts moved menacingly towards the villages Sotaina, Braila and tonsils. Shortly before 9 pm last night the flames passed near the village Sotaina, and the villages of Braila and Almond were also put on alert.
- ZAKYNTHOS – The fire that is burning in Zakynthos’ woodland area of Orthonies is still not under control. Nine fire fighters and three vehicles, as well as two aircraft and one helicopter have been dispatched to the scene.
- CRETE – A fire broke out shortly before 1 pm near Falassarna in the region after the Platanos, Chania. Fire fighters rushed to scene immediately. Some 10 vehicles, 20 men and a fire fighting helicopter -stationed in Crete- were called on the scene. Around 2:45 pm, the fire was brought under partial control, having burned a total of about 25 acres of woodland and 10 acres grassland. According to fire fighters here, the fire was caused by arson.
- THESSALONIKI – A blaze that initially erupted in Thessaloniki’s large Seih Sou park, overlooking the city, was being tackled by the fire brigade and local volunteers, as smoke was visible everywhere above the northern Greek port city. A second front, above the road broke out a little later on Friday but it was put under control. Earlier on Friday, there were traffic problems on account of the smoke in the area which is why police cars regulated the traffic on the wider network of Stavropol-Konstantinoupolitika- to facilitate the passage of fire fighting vehicles.
- ATTICA – The fire that broke out in a forested area near Plaka, in Keratea Attica was put under control. Also, a huge fire broke out around 4:30 in the morning in the Parnitha area. And if that wasn’t enough another fire was reported to have sparked in Ano Glyfada. All fires were put under control by the late afternoon. Due to strong winds the flames passed through a residential area and unfortunately even threatened some homes.
- FTHIOTIDA – The wildfire breaking out in the Fthiotida prefecture threatened the prison at Malandrino, as flames reached the area outside the prison. Fire fighting forces with the change in the direction of the wind as an ally, prevented the possibility of the blaze reaching the prison premises and placed it under complete control. Moreover, the wildfires two other fronts moved in the direction of the villages of Sotena, Vraila and Amygdalia. Shortly before 9 in the evening, flames came close to Sotena, but the danger has not yet gone for Vraila and Amygdalia and the possibility of the settlements being evacuated remains open.