Plagued by flames. One forest fire stricken by strong winds this Saturday ravaged the vegetation of a southern suburb of Athens en Greece, forcing many residents to evacuate, firefighters said. Greek civil protection has called the residents of Ano Voula and the surrounding area by SMS via emergency number 112 to leave their homes, as the flames have already reached a residential area.
The fire, which is now out of control, also caused the evacuation of four more areas in the late afternoon, as the wind changed direction and pushed the flames towards Vari, said Grigoris Konstantelos, the Mayor of Voula, on the Skai TV channel. Six water bomber planes, three helicopters and municipal tankers are in support of dozens of firefighters who intervened with 20 fire engines. Ant1 TV showed police officers inviting locals to leave.
“The situation is very difficult”
Media reported a power outage in the area where roofs, gardens and vehicles were damaged by the fire. Skai showed pictures of a burning house with flames licking the inside. Asked by Open tv, Grigoris Kostantelos said about 20 houses had been damaged. “The situation is very difficult and the wind is not helping,” said Giannis Konstantatos, the mayor of Ellinikon-Argiroupoli, a nearby town.
“The atmosphere is stifling, we have trouble breathing,” he told the Athens News Agency. Giorgos Papanikolaou, the mayor of Glyfada, where the fire broke out, explained, without giving further details, that a high-voltage power plant had caused the accident, the agency added. Later in the afternoon, another fire broke out near Athens, in Kouvaras, but no residential areas are threatened.
From outside help
Last summer, Greece’s worst heatwave in decades, blamed on climate change, caused fires that destroyed more than 100,000 hectares of forests and farmland. worst fire damage since 2007.
More than 200 firefighters and equipment provided by other European Union (EU) countries will soon be deployed in Greece to help in the fight against these forest fires. Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Romania and Norway will take part in the operation, coordinated by the EU’s civil protection mechanism, the European Commission announced on Thursday.