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New Fire Breaks Out at Vilia, West of Athens as Evia Blaze Still Burns

New fire west of Athens
New fire breaks out at Vilia, near Athens. Credit: AMNA

A major new fire broke out in in Vilia, west of Athens, where a large blaze had burned for six days last week, ravaging swaths of pristine pine forest, Greece’s fire service said in a new announcement on Monday.

Shortly after 1 PM, authorities issued an evacuation order for Vilia as the flames closed in.

Fifty firefighters with 20 vehicles, and two units on foot, along with six helicopters and five aircraft, have rushed to the area.

The new blaze, located in the area of Kaza, is being fanned by strong winds up to 8 on the Beaufort scale (34-40 mph, or gale force). Police have stopped traffic on the Elefsina-Thivon highway near Vilia, on the direction of Thiva (Thebes).

The deputy governor of western Attica, Lefteris Kosmopoulos, told Skai TV that the flames now form a front measuring at least 1.5 km wide (.9 mile), burning in thick forest land.

Meanwhile, a force of 46 firefighters with 20 fire engines, a unit on foot and water-dropping aircraft continued to fight another blaze in southern Evia that broke out early on Monday.

The Fire Service said the blaze was largely contained but had not been brought under control.

Residents in the settlements of Marmari, Kokkini and the doctors’ building cooperative were told to evacuate, with a Coast Guard vessel, a private boat and two passenger ships on standby in Marmari in case residents needed to evacuate.

Parts of Greece at high risk of fire

Meanwhile, the General Secretariat for Civil Protection has announced a Very High Risk (Category 4) of fire for many more areas in Greece on Monday, August 23, 2021.

More specifically this designation applies for the following areas:

– Attica Region (including the island of Kythera)

– Peloponnese Region (Corinth, Argolida, Laconia)

– North Aegean Region (Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Ikaria)

– Region of Crete

The General Secretariat for Civil Protection, as it stated in an announcement, “has informed the state services involved, as well as the regions and municipalities of the above mentioned areas, so that they are on increased civil protection readiness in order to immediately deal with any incidents of fire.”

Hundreds of fires hit Greece

Since the beginning of August, hundreds of wildfires have been burning in Greece in the wake of the country’s worst heat wave in the last few decades that had already left shrubland and forests parched.

Hundreds of blazes in the wider Athens region, the Peloponnese peninsula and Evia island among others decimated more than 100,000 hectares of forestry and farmland, said the European Forest Fire Information System.

One person died during their firefighting efforts and thousands of animals perished as a result of the disaster, according to the latest official count. More than 1,700 houses, businesses and other buildings have been damaged by the wildfires, the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport said Friday.

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