A large wildfire broke out in Stamata, East Attica on Tuesday afternoon, in what officials believe was the result of arson. Four suspectes have been taken into custody.
The blazes have reached residential areas and amateur videos from the area posted on social media show the smoke and dust surrounding the village of Stamata.
Greek media also report that the fire has already burned residences and cars both in Stamata and in Rhodopolis. According to Rhodopolis Mayor Vasilis Kleftakis, 20 houses in the area have either burned down completely or suffered serious damage.
Giannis Kalafatelis, the Mayor of the Municipality of Dionysos told reporters earlier that the settlement of Galini has already been evacuated.
The Greek Civil Protection issued a warning with a text message that was sent to all residents of the area. The warning noted: ”If you are in Stamata, Rhodopolis, Ekali, Drosia, and Dionysos, close chimneys, windows, doors to prevent sparks from entering the building.”
According to the state-run AMNA news agency, two fire engines with a 68-member crew, three teams of firemen on foot, the municipality’s water trucks along with four firefighting aircraft and five water-dropping helicopters are currently battling the blaze.
”The strong winds reaching speeds of 6 on the Beaufort scale make the firefighters’ mission very difficult,” Fire Brigade’s spokesman Vassilis Vathrakogiannis told AMNA earlier.
Now, it seems that the massive effort to fight the strong blaze has paid off, as the fire has been significantly limited.
Where is Stamata
Stamata is a community of Athens in the East Attica regional unit.
Since the 2011 local government reform, it is part of the northeast municipality of Dionysos, of which it is a municipal unit.
Stamata is a rather exclusive Athenian suburb, situated in the mountainous northeastern part of the Athenian plain, between the two largest mountains of Attica, Parnitha and Penteli. The center of the settlement lies about 23 km northeast of the city center of Athens.
Until recently, only the main village was inhabited by permanent residents, while the rural area was cultivated by farmers of the village. Nowadays, there are also residences in the nearby settlement of Amygdaleza.
The broader area is surrounded by beautiful pine forests where any kind of development is strictly prohibited by law. The residential areas cover only a small part of the landscape, while in the remaining rural areas, one can find farmlands and vineyards.
Coming heatwave could increase risk of wildfires in Attica, all of Greece
A severe heatwave is expected to blaze through Greece for the next week, the National Meteorological Service announced Monday.
This is not the first heatwave the country has faced this summer; however, forecasts show that temperatures are supposed to skyrocket again to 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit) in some parts Greece, reminding many of the deadly 1987 heatwave.
From Tuesday onward, temperatures across the country are forecast to take a turn and change drastically. This is due to the hot air masses which are likely to travel from North Africa to Greece and send thermometers skyrocketing.
However, the agency made note of the fact that the heatwave hitting Greece will be at its absolute worst from Thursday, July 29, to Tuesday, August 3.
This is a developing story