After extreme heat and drought, Greece is now battling the first wildfires of the year around the capital, Athens.
Tagus Shaw newspaper wrote in an article: After extreme heat and drought, Greece is now fighting the first forest fire this year. Fires have broken out in several areas near the capital, Athens. Now a large number of people must be taken to safe places and settled.
Several large forest and bush fires have broken out in the greater Athens area, the capital of Greece. Civil defense ordered the evacuation of many residents of the area, children’s summer camps in several villages east of Athens and near the beach resort of Loutraki west of the capital were affected by the fire. As the state television showed, some houses were also burned there.
Thus, after a relatively rainy and cool spring, these are the first vegetation and forest fires in Greece this year. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on the sidelines of the EU-Latin America meeting in Brussels that the country is doing everything to contain the fires. He emphasized: I ask our citizens to follow the instructions of the civil defense.
He emphasized: The main priority in firefighting is to protect human lives. It is only in this way that the protection of property and environment is realized. Mitsotakis explained that the fires are also a consequence of the climate crisis, which is felt more acutely every day.
The spokesperson of the fire department said: We are fighting 20 forest and bush fires that threaten residential areas. Dozens of planes and helicopters are in operation. The situation is difficult due to strong winds fanning the flames. The wind speed reaches 60 kilometers per hour.
The flames quickly spread through the dry bush to Anavyssos in the densely populated Attica region, as well as to the coastal resorts of Lagonissi, Anavyssos and Saronida, where many tourist homes are located.
Thick smoke also disrupted traffic on roads near the town of Kalivia. Authorities asked residents to leave the area. The monks of the local monastery were taken to a safe place as a precaution. Greek public television ERT showed a video of the burnt houses.
Another fire has spread about 80 kilometers west of Athens in a forested area near the town of Loutraki near Corinth, officials said. There was also a strong wind. Firefighters reported to Anna Younan news agency that ground and air forces have been mobilized. As a precaution, traffic on the highway between Athens and Corinth was closed.
Authorities also ordered evacuations around Loutraki as a precaution. Mayor George Giunis said 1,200 children had been rescued from tourist camps near the city.
Greece has been suffering from the first heat wave of the year since late last week. According to the report of the National Observatory of Athens, the maximum air temperature in Thebes region in the center of the country was recorded at 44.2 degrees over the weekend. With temperatures reaching 39 degrees in Athens, the Acropolis was closed from Friday to Sunday during the hottest hours of the day.
The Greek Meteorological Organization EMY predicted a slight temperature drop of two to four degrees for the next few days. But it is possible that there will be another heat wave on Thursday with a maximum temperature of 43 degrees. The fire department warns that as temperatures rise, the risk of forest fires will increase significantly.
In the summer of 2021, severe fires devastated part of the country. Three people lost their lives and more than 100 thousand hectares of forest were destroyed. In 2018, more than a hundred people died in the country’s worst fire to date in Matti, near Athens.