New fires have rekindled in the areas of Varympompi and Afidnes, north of Athens, Greece, on three fronts. The ominous developments on Thursday occur just one day after the previous fire had been partially contained.
Now, onlookers say that the former Greek royal family’s estate at Tatoi is in danger, as flames are reaching the buildings there, which are currently under extensive restoration.
Authorities have just sent a message to the residents of Ippokratio Politia and Drosopigi via 112.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed during a press conference on Thursday that the country’s top priority is always “protecting human lives.”
He stressed that the country is facing an “extremely critical situation,” with many fires blazing across Greece during the country’s worst heatwave in decades.
Mitsotakis noted that the fires in Attica, Evia, and Ilia are the most dangerous and powerful blazes, and urged the public to support the firefighters bravely working on the front lines of the fires.
Finally, Mitsotakis stressed the role of climate change in the number and severity of the wildfires, and promised to battle it in his role as Prime Minister.
Greece fires result in evacuations of residents
Additionally, fires continue to plague the region of Ilia in the Peloponnese, where firefighters have urged that residents across the region be evacuated.
A message was sent from the emergency 112 number to all residents in the areas of Vasilaki, Ypsilo, Aspra Spitia, Xirokampo, Ampari, Ano-Kato Louvro, Kryoneri, Lala, Douka, Lasdika, Nemouta to leave their homes and head toward Panopoulos on Thursday.
Since Wednesday afternoon, such evacuation orders have been given in 29 areas of Ilia, including Ancient Olympia.
Fire in Evia changes course, heads north and northwest
After plaguing the region for three days, the fires in Evia have begun to change course.
The blaze is now moving toward the north and northwest of the island, inching dangerously close to the coast.
The areas of Agia Anna, Palaiovrysi, Kerameia, and Agkali have all been evacuated. Residents are urged to head toward Mantoudi to escape the flames.
The massive fire in the region continues to burn, and firefighters struggle to contain the blaze, which many believe is beyond control.
Smoke from Greece fires like “atomic bomb”
At present the fire fronts in Varympompi are located in a ravine that is between Adames and the Tatoi airport, in the Olympic village and in the Royal Estates themselves.
Authorities on the scene told local media that “The inductive smoke column is proportional to the heat intensity in the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.”
Five firefighting helicopters and an aircraft arena dropping water in an effort to bring the situation under control. According to SKAI TV, firefighters said explosions were heard, while the re-ignition of the blaze near Adamas most likely came from a small pocket of fire.
All three new fires near Greece’s capital are burning parts of the forest that had been left untouched so far in the previous blazes.
Now, roads in the wider area have been blocked off to facilitate the movement of fire trucks to the locations of the flareups.
A message from the Civil Protection, through 112, was sent a while ago to the residents of the area where the fire broke out. At the same time, according to ERT, buses are ready to pick up residents who do not have the means to leave.
The residents of Ippokratio State, who number approximately 1,200, are now asked to move from their homes and out to the highway that goes to Athens, while the 450 residents of Drosopigi are asked to remove themselves and go to Afidnes or Oropos.
The message residents received stated “If you are in Ippokratio Politia, evacuate now to Athens from the Athens-Lamia National Road. If you are in Drosopigi, evacuate now to Afidnes or Oropos. Forest fire in your area.”
Because of the strong winds, which are exacerbating the fires, the blazes are changing course, threatening Ippokratia.
As Dionysis Paterakis, president of the Hippocrates State Housing Association, reports to protothema.gr, the fire may be as close as six kilometers; however dense smoke has already started to cover the area.
“The fire is quite far from Ippokratia state at the moment. Thick black smoke has started to appear and cover the area; however the fire is in a straight line from here about six kilometers.
“A while ago we received a message from 112 of the civil protection for precautionary evacuation and enough people have started to move away,” he added. “At the moment the direction of the wind has changed and is further east, which means that the danger is now being transferred to the royal estates, while a while ago it seemed to be coming upwards.
“I see around six air vehicles operating in the area, while fire sirens are heard everywhere,” he noted.
At the same time, a message was sent with recommendations to the residents of Kryoneri, stating: “If you are in Kryoneri, close all the chimneys, windows, doors so that the heat does not penetrate inside the house. Stay alert & follow the instructions of the authorities.”
With the first light of day, new water drops from helicopters began on the new flareups in and around the new fires at Varympompi.