Dozens of Wind-Whipped Fires Break Out Across Greece


Photo by EUROKINISSI (file).

ATHENS - Greece’s high-fire season on Aug. 12 saw a series of fires tear across the country, fueled by parched-dry conditions during near-100 degree temperatures and winds in many places.

Firefighters scrambled to get to dozens of areas that were hit, the biggest in Koropi in eastern Attica and on the Ionian island of Zakynthos, filled with holiday goers at the height of the tourist season, another record-breaker for Greece.

Greek firefighters had also aided counterparts in Albania but fires spread across the border to the areas of Palabas and Limeri in the prefecture of Thesprotia, Kathimerini said, with water-dropping aircraft being called into fight the breakouts.

The General Secretariat for Civil Protection warned that areas at the greatest risk of fire were in central Greece, the Peloponnese and the Ionian islands.

Fires earlier in August were put down on the island of Spetses, in the Peloponnesian region of Ileia, in Kavala in northern Greece, as well as near Athens, in the towns of Anavysos and Saronida east of the capital, where four firemen were injured and one home destroyed.

This is the 10th anniversary of the inferno of 2007 which saw fires rage uncontrolled across Greece, many of them believed to have been set amid criticism it was done so to let the land then be developed as there is no law against building on burned-out forests.

The worst period was from Aug. 23-27 and by the time it was over some 84 people had been killed, including a tragedy when a mother, her four children and their grandmother were overrun by fast-spreading flames in the Peloponnese and killed.