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Wildfires in Greece Largely Contained

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There is no active front on Thursday in Attica, but authorities are on alert for flare-ups. Credit: AMNA

The wildfires in Greece that raged near Athens earlier in the week seem to have been contained Thursday, but the fire on the island of Rhodes continues to burn a virgin forest for a third day.

The scattered outbreaks that remain active in Western Attica and Dervenochoria are manageable, the Fire Service says. As of Thursday morning local time, there is no active front, but authorities are on alert for flare-ups.

The fire in Rhodes is still burning a forest in hard-to-reach places. Trees as tall as 15 meters are burning, which makes the work of the ground forces even more difficult.

On Wednesday three villages and a hotel were evacuated as a precaution. The fire broke out in the area of Apollona on Tuesday evening. The village is located 50 km from the island’s capital and very close to the island’s highest mountain, Attavyros.

Greece on alert for wildfires as second heatwave looms

Greek meteorological service had warned of a heightened risk of fires from Thursday, as the country recovered from the first major heatwave of the summer.

A second heatwave was forecast to start on Thursday, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas, and rising further on Friday to a maximum of 44C.

Land and aerial firefighting forces will continue preventive patrolling in forests across Greece amid challenging conditions, authorities said late on Wednesday.

A 30-year-old man was arrested in Messinia, and confessed to three different arsons. He is expected to be taken to the prosecutor on Thursday.

His detention was announced by the Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Vassilis Kikilias.

International assistance to combat wildfires in Greece

On Thursday two firefighting aircraft are expected to arrive from Israel following a request submitted by Greece.

In addition to the request to the European Civil Protection Mechanism for aerial assistance, on Tuesday Greece submitted an additional request to send infantry units and firefighting vehicles.

The activation of the European Mechanism was immediate and the following countries responded to the Greek request:

Poland, which provided an infantry division with 149 firefighters, as well as 49 vehicles

Romania, which offered an infantry division with 40 firefighters, as well as 5 vehicles

Slovakia, which offered a foot division with 31 firefighters and 15 vehicles.

The first firefighters from Romania arrived at the military airport of Elefsina. Their fire engines are expected to be in Greece by Friday.

Two fire-fighting aircraft from Italy and two from France have also been sent to Greece.

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