Hundreds of firefighters are trying to contain a wildfire at the foothills of Mount Parnitha, located north of Athens on Wednesday amid fears that the blaze could spread into the mountain’s National Park.
The fire that broke out at midday on Tuesday has led to the destruction of homes and vehicles in the suburb of Fyli.
A total of 202 firefighters with nine teams on foot and sixty-five vehicles are operating in the area, assisted by two aircraft and five helicopters.
The efforts of the Fire Department are supported by volunteer firefighters, water tankers, and machines of the army and local administration.
Parnitha is a densely forested mountain region north of Athens
Mount Parnitha is a densely forested mountain region north of Athens, the highest on the peninsula of Attica, with an elevation of 1,413 meters and a summit known as Karavola.
Much of the mountain is designated a national park, and it is a protected habitat for wildfowl first established in 1961. The summit is located eighteen kilometers north of Acharnes and about thirty kilometers north of Athens city center, while the mountain covers approximately 250 square kilometers of land.
The wildfire is spreading fast due to strong winds and has approached the suburb of Menidi.
For the fifth consecutive day, firefighting operations are ongoing in Evros, a region close to the Turkish border, where eighteen people were found dead on Tuesday.
This includes two active fronts in Alexandroupoli and the Dadia Forest.
The main hospital of Alexandroupolis was evacuated early on Tuesday, as wildfires engulfed the coastal town near the border with Turkey.
Additionally, fires remain active in various other parts of the country. The primary focal points are in Rodopi within the Thrace region, the island of Samothraki, the island of Evia to the east of Athens, and Makrakomi in Fthiotida.
A very high risk of fire (risk category 4) is predicted for Wednesday in six regions of the country, according to the Fire Risk Prediction Map issued by the general secretariat of Civil Protection of the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection (civilprotection.gov.gr).
More specifically, a very high fire risk is predicted for the following areas:
Eastern Macedonia & Thrace (Evros, including the island of Samothraki, Rhodope, Xanthi, Kavala, Thassos)
North Aegean (Lemnos, Lesvos)
Central Greece (Boeotia, Fthiotida, Evia, including the island of Skyros, Fokida)
Peloponnese (Corinthia, Argolis, Arcadia)
Western Greece (Achaia)
Wildfires in Greece burned over 40,000 hectares in three days
Over 40,000 hectares (400,000 stremmas) of land have been burnt in wildfires in Greece between Saturday and Monday (Aug. 19-21), the National Observatory of Athens’ Meteo Division said on Tuesday, based on preliminary analysis of satellite data.
Specifically, Meteo said the following land had been burnt, per region:
– 38,000 hectares in Evros, NE Greece border area
– 3,000 hectares in Rodopi, N Greece (west of Evros)
– 1,200 hectares in Viotia, Central Greece
– 800 hectares on Kythnos island, south of Attica
– 500 hectares at Psachna of Evia island, east of Attica
The preliminary data will be corrected when the fires have been contained and satellite data of higher resolution are available, Meteo said.
Wildfires in Greece
Last month, devastating wildfires wreaked havoc in Central Greece and the islands, leading to the compulsory evacuation of around twenty thousand tourists from the resort island of Rhodes.
Shortly thereafter, a water-dropping plane operated by the air force crashed while fighting a blaze on the island of Evia. This resulted in the loss of two air force pilots’ lives.
Over six hundred fires swept across Greece, scorching hundreds of square miles of land and leaving thousands of tourists stranded. Recent extreme heat in the Mediterranean saw temperatures at 40 degrees Celsius. Experts have blamed climate change for the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires.