Authorities have declared the Aegean island of Chios in a state of emergency due to a wildfire that has been raging since the early hours of Monday morning. An additional 50 men were deployed from the armed forces and the fire brigade to assist in efforts to put out the fire that has already destroyed 90 percent of mastic gum tree orchards in some of the island’s villages known as mastihohoria.
The villages of Elata, Vessa and Lithi, south of the island, recorded a 90 percent loss of mastic trees in their regions, whereas there is also extensive damage to Olympous, Mesta and between Vessa and Agios Georgios Sykousis.
There were sixteen vehicles and 38 firemen already taking part in operations before further deployments arrived after gusts of winds fanned the wildfire. Due to the strong winds, Canadair fire extinguishing aircraft are unable to take part in the firefighting efforts.
Chios Mayor Manolis Vournous said that two houses had already been burnt to the ground. The brigade was reinforced with more men from the army, navy and air force as well as from the fire brigade that took off from Elefsina air base in a C-130 plane before 2 p.m.
Rural Development and Foods Minister Vangelis Apostolou will visit the island on Tuesday to survey the damage at fire-stricken villages.