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Greek Inferno: 154 Fires Currently Raging in Greece

Greece fires
A burned house in Limni, Evia. Credit: Greek Reporter

Saturday found Greece fighting for the fifth consecutive day with tens of fires across the country.

Thousands of Greek firefighters , as well as some from other European nations and Israel, continue their efforts to put out the wildfires that have caused unprecedented damage throughout Greece.

Greece faced a total of 154 fires throughout the country on Friday, Deputy Civil Protection Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said on Friday night, with 98 of those fires being new.

The biggest of all have damaged hundreds of homes in many northern suburbs of Athens, the island of Evia, the Peloponnese, and elsewhere.

Evia Island, the Worst Fires in Greece so Far

The devastating fires that have been raging across the north on the island of Evia in Greece continued their destructive path on Friday night and Saturday morning.

The fire front entered the town of Limni on the northwestern part of the island, causing chaos and destruction.

Among the settlements that saw the wildfires returning on Friday night were those of Metohi, Zoodochos Pigi, Kalyvia, Spathari, Troupi, Prokopi, Rovies, Marouli, Kokkinomilia, Kryoneritis, and Tsapournia.

People near the villages of Elliniko, Avgaria, Galatsona, and Monokarya were also affected by the fires, fortunately though without having to evacuate their homes.

By Saturday afternoon most of these fire fronts had been put under control. However, the area around Spathari is still under threat as rekindling caused a new local fire front.

North Attica, the Epicenter of Greece’s Fires since Tuesday

In the area of Varympompi in Athens, the largest fire of all, more than 100 rekindled fire pockets were recorded between Wednesday and Friday night.

Burning on Mt. Parnitha, the fire remained out of control on Thursday, Friday, and the night onto Saturday morning.

It was blazing through the areas of Drosopigi and Kryoneri on Thursday evening, spreading north and east, a situation that continued all the way until Saturday morning.

The towns of Polydendri, Kapandriti, Ippokrateios Politeia (State of Hippocrates), Kryoneri, Kokkinovraxos, Afidnes, and Drossopigi were evacuated and thousands of people had to rush either towards downtown Athens or other coastal areas to find safe refuge.

On Saturday morning, residents of the villages of Agia Paraskevi, Agia Skepi, Kapitenia, Vrisaki, and Lofos Kouremenou were also ordered to evacuate towards Drosia.

The national highway that connects Athens with Lamia and therefore central and northern Greece remained blocked off on Thursday and most of Friday, as the fire engulfed both sides of the road.

The railway line between Athens and Thessaloniki has also been closed, with many services in between being canceled.

South Attica

Another fire that broke out earlier on Friday at Cape Sounion has been put out, Mayor of Lavreotiki Dimitris Loukas said on Friday evening.

The fire had started right across from the ancient Temple of Poseidon.

Due to the quick response of all firefighters in the area and the efforts of civil protection, the fire was stopped before it could cross a ravine toward the town of Sounion and the national park that lies further out.

The mayor told state-run AMNA news agency that he asserted the cause of the fire was most likely arson, as it started next to a hotel where there is absolutely no flammable material.

Central Athens

Another, smaller –this time– fire that broke out on Friday afternoon in the Athens suburb of Ano Liossia and spread toward the suburb of Petroupolis, aided by strong winds, the Fire Brigade said late on Friday evening.

Fortunately enough, there was no danger to residential areas, however, firefighters were struggling to put it out before the night, something that was managed to be achieved.

The main concern of the firefighters was that when air support has to stop overnight, the situation normally gets out of control.

A total of 25 firefighters with 12 fire trucks, 2 airplanes, and a helicopter operated there throughout the evening and onto the night.

Ancient Olympia

The forest fire that has been blazing since Thursday through the area of Nemouta, west of Ancient Olympia, is still worrying the Fire Service.

The village of Nemouta and the neighboring communities of Villia and Tsapareika in northwestern Peloponnese have all been evacuated.

Traffic in the Tripolis-Pyrgos national highway has been closed off from Louvros to Miraka and the situation remains critical.

A total of 310 firefighters with 105 vehicles, 10 teams on foot, drones, two helicopters, and one aircraft have been deployed around the region of Elis (Ilia) near the birthplace of the Olympics.

Gythio

Firefighting forces and a helicopter were fighting a blaze to stop it before it enters the city of Gythion throughout Friday.

Gythio is a picturesque seaside town resort, on the eastern coast of the Peloponnese, in Laconia, the home of Sparta.

Officials had told reporters late on Friday night that the fire approached the city on its northeastern side, and that the situation there was very difficult, as high winds would not subside after sunset.

Hundreds, if not thousands of residents and tourists left the town to find safe refuge elsewhere in the Peloponnese.

Greece Fires: Arson and Climate Change

Unfortunately, multiple people have been linked to arson across Greece in the last couple of days, as fires rage through nearly every region of the country.

Two people were arrested in Agios Stefanos, Attica where fires are still currently spreading.

The suspects were apprehended by the bridge of Agios Stefanos on Athinaias Street with a can of gasoline.

Of course, these fires are not all results of arsonists. The historic heatwave that ravaged the country for days is also one of the main factors that led to this environmental catastrophe.

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