Greece Evacuates More Villages as Wildfire Spreads Through the Country
A wildfire in Greece is ravaging homes and sending plumes of smoke over Athens for a second day as firefighters struggle to control the blaze. Raging west of Athens, the wildfire has destroyed over 20 square kilometers of forest.
Greek authorities have ordered the evacuation of more villages threatened by the fire as winds strengthened the already out-of-control blaze.
The blaze, burning near the coastal village of Schinos broke out mid-week and has spread through winds gusting up to 35 mph.
Many homes and cottages have been damaged and destroyed, while several areas have been ordered to evacuate. Nikos Hardalias deputy minister of civil protection and crisis management said that the fire was started on private properties that are not managed by the government and the cause was still under investigation.
The efforts continue – and, believe me, it’s titanic – and we are moderately optimistic that during the day and with the gradual improvement of the weather conditions, the fire will be limited, while all our forces will remain in the field in any case until it is completely extinguished.
With the fire filling the air with pollutants and toxic fumes, the officials have advised the residents in nearby areas to stay indoors and keep the doors and windows closed. Over 275 firefighters were battling the fire from land and air, hoping to control the fire amid easing weather conditions.
The summer peaks in Greece around late July to early August, when the high temperature reaches about 95 degrees. Temperatures this week were in the 60s and 70s.
Wildfires are a common occurrence during the hot and dry summers of Greece, but Hardalias said that this one came ahead of the usual season.