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Two Dead In Central Greece Fires As Blazes Continue To Rage

Fire burning in a forest in Greece.
Two people lost their lives in the fires in central Greece on Wednesday. Credit: AMNA

A fire that broke out on Wednesday in Velestino, Thessaly, Central Greece, and claimed the lives of two people, raged through the night and reportedly rekindled on Monday morning.

Firefighters, police, volunteers and residents of the area in Magnesia, to which Velestino belongs, were fighting the flames all night, AMNA reports.

Three new messages to evacuate towards the city of Volos were sent out by emergency number 112 in the early morning hours, urging the residents of nine additional communities to flee.

Strong ground forces were operating to extinguish the fire, assisted by 3 airplanes and 1 helicopter.

Meanwhile, on Rhodes, which has been devastated by fires for over a week, flames rekindled in the villages Vati and Gennadi. 266 firefighters with 55 fire trucks were operating on the ground, aided by 25 fire-fighting aircraft, officials said.

The fire on Corfu, which broke out on Sunday, appears to be in recession, but scattered fires continue to burn.

A new blaze near the town of Kymi, Evia island, which was approaching a local hospital on Monday, had been contained by noon.

Rekindled fires were also being tackled by strong ground forces near Karystos, Evia.

All the forces of Civil Protection were fighting incessantly against rekindled flames on all fronts in Greece, Hellenic Fire Service spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Yiannis Artopios told reporters.

“We remain on high alert. We ask all citizens in the event of a fire for their own safety to follow the instructions of the competent authorities,” Artopios warned.

Magnesia fires claim two more lives

An elderly woman with mobility problems lost her life in the fires in the area of Magnesia, Thessaly, near the sea at Almyros village, while a 45-year-old stockbreeder vanished in the mountainous area near Velestino in his struggle to save his sheep from the blaze. He had been last seen alive during a live broadcast by Greek public television ERT.

The villages of Sesklo and Dimini were evacuated as a precaution late afternoon Wednesday due to the fire raging in Velestino. Similarly, the residents of Palikouri and staff at the Volos Industrial Estate were ordered to evacuate toward Volos.

The two pilots who were killed on duty on Tuesday when their fire-fighting Canadair aircraft crashed were awarded posthumous decorations by the Hellenic Air Force. The Hellenic Armed Forces went into three days of mourning over the pilots’ tragic loss.

Travel disrupted as blazes burn in Central Greece

Residents in the northern sections of the city of Lamia, also in Central Greece, were ordered to evacuate their homes late afternoon Wednesday, as a fire crossed the regional road to Domokos, which connects the city with Thessaly to the north.

Two PZL-type water bombers and one Erickson helicopter were operating in the area, alongside strong firefighting forces on the ground, according to AMNA.

A large part of the city was without power, as the fire destroyed electricity poles and transformers.

The Lamia-Domokos road was shut to traffic and train travel was also interrupted along the Athens-Thessaloniki line as the Fire Service ordered a temporary suspension due to the fires in areas south of Lamia and in Velestino.

The passengers aboard the interrupted train routes were transported to their destinations by bus.

594 fires broke out in Greece in 10 days

A total of 594 fires broke out in Greece in 10 days, under heatwave conditions and with high-velocity winds, Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias said on Wednesday.

Of the 594 fires, 571 were put out before they spread, while five spread extensively in Dervenochoria, Corfu, Rhodes, Loutraki, Kouvaras, Egio, Karystos, Laconia, and Boeotia.

The climate crisis will create more conditions that result in fires, and this battle will continue all summer long, the Minister commented.

On the other hand, he added that “the fires that burn down forests and homes every year do not start spontaneously. It is human beings who set the fires, whether by negligence or intention. We all need to be very careful and aware.”

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