Two large wildfires are threatening Itea and Kranidi, two of Greece’s top luxury resorts on Tuesday.
The fire in Itea, a resort town in the southeastern part of Phocis, central Greece which broke out on Monday, is burning uncontrollably.
Fanned by strong winds registering up to 6 on the Beaufort scale, the fire is reportedly burning its way through olive groves towards the all-female monastery of Profitis Ilias and also towards the coastal town of Itea.
The monastery has been evacuated, yet firefighters are trying to prevent the blaze from reaching a forested region nearby.
The fire is burning a huge area of ancient olive groves stretching to the town of Itea, including the Amfissa Olive Grove and the valley of Pleistos. It is believed that it is the largest olive tree forest in the Balkans with approximately 1.2 million trees.
Gogo Athanasiou posted on Facebook a photo showing her family’s olive grove in flames.
Dozens of firefighters aided by four water-dumping airplanes and a helicopter are trying to contain the fire that has developed a 20-km front (12 miles).
The fire started at 1 pm on Monday afternoon but the situation became more difficult in the evening, once the aerial vehicles stopped flying.
On Monday evening, the Fire Service ordered the evacuation of the northern part of the town of Itea and the village of Sernikaki.
“What is happening is shocking: The wind is strong and the firefighters are fighting a big battle,” said Ioannis Lytras, the president of the Itea municipality.
He noted that “some businesses are threatened, such as factories located outside the villages, but also livestock units. The situation is very difficult.”
Wildfire threatens luxury resort at Kranidi, Peloponnese
A luxury hotel in Kranidi, Argolida, was evacuated on Monday evening after parts of the premises were damaged by a large wildfire that broke out in the forest area of Korakia area and the wind brought it to the hotel.
There are strong indications of arson, report local media.
Some 40 people, visitors and employees, who were evacuated from the hotel were initially “trapped:” at the beach of the hotel compound. they were transferred to safety with boats, local media argolida24.gr reported around 9:30 p.m.
According to the Fire Service, the fire caused serious damage to bungalows, but the evacuation operation was successful and without any injuries, report local media.
The Municipal Authority of Hermionida has deployed water tanks to assist the firefighters.
Firefighters from Nafplio and Argos have been deployed to Kranidi fire while more forces from other areas in Peloponnese are expected soon.
Argolida24.gr reports that there are strong indications of an arson “because a couple of minutes before the fire broke out in the forest next to the hotel, two other fires were started in two abandoned houses in settlements of the area.
“In this way the fire fighting forces were divided until the extinction of the first fires resulting in arriving with delay to the hotel.”
52 wildfires were recorded in Greece in 24 hours
A total of 52 wildfires were recorded throughout Greece in the last 24 hours.
A wildfire that broke on Monday at Schimatari north of Athens was eventually brought under control.
At one point municipal authorities called for the precautionary evacuation of Dilesi, a seaside resort town in the region of Viotia.
Authorities in Greece issued warnings of fires on Saturday as the country is experiencing blistering winds and high temperatures.
According to the General Secretariat of Civil Protection areas most at risk are the North Aegean (Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Ikaria), Attica (including the island of Kythira), Central Greece (Viotia, Evia), the Peloponnese and Western Greece (Ilia, Achaia).
The Secretariat called on citizens to avoid any open-air activities that can cause a fire due to negligence.
These include activities such as the burning of dry grass or branches, the use of machinery that create sparks, such as circular saws or welding devices, the use of bee smokers, and the disposing of lit cigarettes. Individuals should also be cautious while grilling outdoors.