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Greece Fires Continue for 8th Day, More Than 230,000 Acres Burned

greece fires evia
A burned building in Limni, Evia. Fires have been raging in Greece for over a week. Credit: Greek Reporter

Greece is fighting for the eighth consecutive day with its fires, particularly on two main fronts: The north of the island of Evia and the broader area of Gortynia in the Peloponnesian regional unit of Arcadia.

The country’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated on Monday that there had been a total of 63 orderly evacuations of towns and villages in the past several days while 586 fires had broken out all around the country.

According to the latest announcement issued by the National Observatory of Athens, Greece has lost 93,368 hectares (230,717 acres) of forests in 2021 alone.

These figures are based on calculations made by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).

Greece comes third in Europe, after Turkey and Italy, in total numbers of burned land, with a staggering increase of 336 percent, compared to the average between 2002 and 2020.

These figures show the magnitude of the environmental, social, and financial catastrophe Greece has been enduring, with the situation still not being completely over.

Evia Fires: Firefighters and Locals Continue to Battle the Blaze

Please support the Evia fire victims

The unprecedented destruction caused to the North of the island is still growing as there are fronts of the fire that are yet to be put out, eight days after is originally started.

The residents of Istiaia were seeing the massive fires surrounding their town, burning what was left unburned in the forested areas around the town.

Overnight, the huge flames threatened the villages of Kamaria and Kastaniotissa, with the main focus of the fire brigade being put around the village of Kamatriades and Kamaria.

At dawn on Tuesday, the fire front of Kamatriades reached the anti-fire zone set up by the residents on Monday afternoon, in order to stop its path towards the village.

Fortunately, the village has not been burned yet, as the zone created by the locals has saved their properties.

However, the villages of Galatsona, Gerakiou, Agriovotano, Asmini, Ellinika, and Pefki saw multiple firefronts rekindling around their areas.

Unfortunately at midday on Tuesday, the situation near Asmini deteriorated significantly, leading the authorities to the decision of evacuating the entire village.

Firefighting aircraft are currently working to control the blaze from air, hoping to push it toward the sea rather than the town of Asmini itself.

Firefighters and volunteers, including residents from nearby villages and all across Greece, are working from the ground to quell the flames that approach the town.

Greece Fires Affecting Arcadia and Messinia

A significant number of firefighters both from Greece and elsewhere continued their efforts to contain the fire burning near Megalopolis in Arcadia, central Peloponnese. Overnight, the fire brigade had to deal with fires rekindling in the areas of Isaris and Chroussa.

The fire in Megalopolis originated in the neighboring regional unit of Messinia, near Melpeia. The fire there is still burning, with additional manpower being present at the scene, trying to extinguish the fire.

The fire brigade operating in both areas consists of 66 firefighters with 23 vehicles and three groups on foot.

The main front of the fire is located around the area of Gortynia in Arcadia.

There, twelve settlements have been evacuated in order to prevent loss of life due to the fire’s rapid spread in the area.

Residents of Chrysochori, Iamatikes Piges, Loutra, Litharos, Agioneri, Parnassos, Ochthia, Aetorachi, Kalliani, Doxa, Toumpisi, and Melidoni received an emergency alert on their phones to evacuate toward nearby Tropaia and Tripoli on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the blaze there picked up after fires that had died down rekindled on Tuesday.

Reinforcements have been sent to the area to assist firefighters on the ground near Gortynia.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 313 firefighters, including 15 teams who are fighting the blaze from the ground, and 101 vehicles are battling the blaze in Gortynia and Ancient Olympia.

Included in those figures are the 35 firefighters from the Czech Republic and 21 from the United Kingdom sent to help Greece control the blazes plaguing the country for over a week.

Prime Minister Apologizes for Fires in Greece

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologized “for any weaknesses” in the country’s efforts to contain and stop the gigantic wildfires on Monday.

Mitsotakis apologized in yet another televised address to the nation that was broadcast at 7:30 PM local time on Monday.

The wildfires in Greece have destroyed wide stretches of forest land and forced hundreds of people to evacuate their towns and villages over the last eight days.

Mitsotakis pledged 500 million euros in additional funds for those hurt by the wildfires.

“We have already secured from the Recovery Fund significant resources for reforestation, mostly in Evia and Attica. While today I approved an additional budget of 500 million euros specifically for these areas. And if necessary, there will be additional European aid. Our bet is to set the standard for a new beginning, a dynamic restart, to which I am confident that institutions, businesses and, above all, civil society itself will respond,” the Greek Prime Minister stated.

Greek Reporter’s Fundraiser: First International Organization at the Scene

Greek Reporter’s team on Evia island, besides reporting on the situation from the very first moment of the fire and help broadcast live the destruction across the globe, has already begun to identify the families that need the most help. We are also working with local authorities to help identify individuals that are most in need of help to disperse funds directly into their bank accounts.

For absolute transparency, no other intermediary authority, either private or public, will have access to the money collected by this fundraiser. The funds delivery will be broadcasted live on Facebook for all donors to see exactly where their funds will go, just as Greek Reporter did in the Mati fires.

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