Greece’s Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos announced on Thursday afternoon that the Greek Army will assist the firefighting efforts after fires broke out across the country.
“The Armed Forces are always there when things get tough. This time also, they will assist the state machinery, which has been mobilized in its entirety in the difficult battle that lies before us,” Panagiotopoulos stated in a press briefing he held in Athens.
Greek Army to offer assistance to firefighters
The Greek government announced that the armed forces of the country will actively participate in the prevention and management of fires.
This was decided ”given the crucial situation in the coming days on the front of the fires,” according to Panagiotopoulos.
The Greek minister also said that special emphasis will be put on the surveillance of high-risk areas throughout the country from the air.
This will be achieved using all available aircraft in addition to intensive and continuous patrols by military troops, always in collaboration and coordination with the General Secretariat for Civil Protection and the Hellenic Police.
The chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff General Constantinos Floros referred on Thursday to the measures already being taken by the armed forces in this direction, saying that patrols will be increased, as will surveillance from the air using both piloted aircraft and drones.
He also said that vehicles and naval units will also be supplied if people need to be evacuated.
“The Armed Forces have already deployed a surveillance and intervention mechanism,” Floros added, that is required and provisioned by Greece’s ”Xenocrates” emergency planning.
The Army General also noted that all requests made by the General Secretariat for Civil Defense have been met.
The Greek armed forces have already supplied 500 personnel, 63 vehicles, 39 helicopters, and fire-fighting aircraft for fighting and monitoring fire-stricken regions.
Fires continue to ravage Greece
In the meantime, the fire fronts of Ancient Olympia and Evia that broke out on Wednesday and Tuesday respectively continue to cause extensive damage to Greece.
Greece’s Civil Protection and Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias revealed on Wednesday evening that a total of 118 different fires across the nation had been reported in the 24-hour period between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hardalias also warned that worse could very well lie ahead, as extremely high temperatures continue to prevail in the country.
The wildfires that broke out in three days in Greece, between August 1 and August 3, burned more than 50 percent of the land surface usually destroyed in an entire fire season, the National Observatory of Athens’ center ”Beyond” said on Wednesday.
The center noted that the fires on Rhodes, in Attica, on Evia, and in Eastern Mani in August destroyed nearly 6,000 hectares (60,000 stremmata).