Wildfires rage out of control; villages evacuated in southern Greece
Several large wildfires have been burning out of control in Greece 21 to 23 July 2020. Villages were evacuated in southern Greece and residents and holidaymakers were evacuated from several seaside areas as the blaze continues to rage outside the city of Corinth in the eastern Peloponnese. The fire has no ‘active front’ at the moment and is under control but around 270 fire fighters with 61 fire engines and 15 ground-based teams, six helicopters, one of which is from the army, as well as three aircraft and a group of hikers as well, have been battling the blaze. Reinforcements came in from northern regions to help control the flames. The chief of Greece's fire brigade also travelled to the scene to coordinate efforts. Another fire blaze at the popular spa area of Loutraki, in the region of Corinth, was partially subdued later in the day. High winds created multiple, scattered fires. There were several other wildfires that had broken out across the country in recent days but fire fighters who had been battling those blazes were transferred to the Corinth fire as those previous fires had been extinguished. Around ten homes were gutted or seriously damaged in the fire to date.
Most of the evacuated villagers and those who live in retirement homes in the area were bussed to nearby beaches.
The village of Drassa in the Corinthia prefecture was evacuated on Thursday, 23 July 2020 as the fire that started on Wednesday at Kehries is still burning “out of control,” said Corinth Mayor Vassilis Nanopoulos. The fire is continuing to burn inland from that area. A summer camp at Sofiko was also evacuated, he said. In all, a total of seven villages have now been evacuated but there have been no injuries reported thus far. Agricultural land as well as pine and olive groves have been burned.
Mayor Nanopoulos requested that the government and the Peloponnese Regional authority declare the municipality in a state of emergency, he said, as the fire cannot be contained despite the participation of all regional fire brigade forces. “Despite the fact that almost all the aerial fire fighting equipment is operating in the area, the situation is not under control,” Mayor Vassilis Nanopoulos told local media.
Fire fighters also battled smaller fires near ancient Olympia, near Petalidi further south and on the southern island of Crete.
The blaze is reportedly moving towards the village of Athikia with authorities to have ordered its evacuation. The fire broke out in Loutra Oraias Elenis, a forest area around noon time near a military camp with large ammunition depots. The camp was not in imminent danger as strong forces were placed along the fence. The fire reached very close to houses of the Zimens settlement.
Wildfires are currently active also in Ancient Olympia, in Petalidi, Messinia, also in Peloponnese as well as on the island of Lesvos.
No injuries or fatalities have been reported yet.
Source: SBS News, BBC, The Standard, Keep Talking Greece