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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-08-22

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] State apparatus mobilises amid spate of wildfires (adds PM, recasts)

  • [01] State apparatus mobilises amid spate of wildfires (adds PM, recasts)

    Several wildfires were reported around the country on Saturday, with the most serious still blazing in the early afternoon northeast of the greater Athens area, between Lake Marathon and a handful of semi-rural communities, a fire whose plumes of smoke were seen over Athens and the surrounding regions.

    The sudden eruption of simultaneous wildfires amid almost gale force winds in the country mobilised Greece's state apparatus, including the armed forces, while Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived at the fire brigade's operational headquarters early Saturday afternoon to oversee emergency fire-fighting efforts.

    "Our first priority is protection of human life, as well as citizens' property," Karamanlis said in brief statements at the fire brigade command centre. "What I would also like to stress is the self-sacrifice of all those battling, under extreme conditions, to extinguish the fires."

    The most serious wildfire was burning at the Sesi site, in Marathon municipality, northeast of Athens, after erupting the previous evening. Swirling winds of up to 7 on the Beaufort scale on Saturday morning caused the flames to switch direction and head towards a cluster of country residences in the region.

    A massive force comprised of 53 fire engines, 24 municipal water trucks, 19 fire-fighting aircraft and up to 300 fire brigade and volunteer fire-fighters were at the scene battling the blaze, centred between the communities of Sesi, Varnavas and Grammatiko - the latter township recently in the headlines due to the vocal opposition of local residents to the placement of a landfill in the area. The blaze, headed towards the Ano Souli area of Marathon municipality in the late afternoon, also briefly threatened a Hellenic Navy helicopter base atop a nearby mountain, before being contained.

    Deputy Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis called the blaze at Grammatiko "difficult", saying weather conditions will determine whether the fire brigade brings the wildfire under control by night time.

    Meanwhile, a total of three separate wildfires were reported on the Ionian island of Zakynthos on Saturday morning, with some 300 hectares of forestland burned so far, in what otherwise had been a mostly uneventful summer season, in terms of wildfires, in the east Mediterranean country.

    Finally, the latest wildfire was reported in the picturesque harbour town of Karystos, in extreme southern-most Evia island, east of Athens. The blaze, next to the village of Platanistos, brought seven fire engines to the scene. A separate wildfire was also reported on the island of Skyros, in the central Aegean.

    Civil defence authorities on Saturday issued wildfire warnings for the greater Athens area and a handful of large islands. Volunteer patrols were reported in many parts of the countryside, while the prefect of Arcadia prefecture in the central Peloponnese order a 24-hour ban on vehicles entering the verdant Mainalos mountain pass.

    In a related development, main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou referred to an "unprecedented ecological catastrophe", while speaking from the German military cemetery on the slopes of Mount Dionysos, where the fire brigade has marshaled forces to prevent any spread of the blaze.


    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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