ATHENS -- A fire that broke out near a pine forest in the Pounta-Zeza area in Lavrio at noon on Thursday continued to burn on Thursday afternoon, with strong 7-Beaufort winds increasing the likelihood that this might spread toward the Sounio national forest, Lavreotiki Mayor Dimitris Loukas said.
The fire is thought to have started within a facility operated by Hellenic Defence Systems in the area, possibly due to shots fired, burning an area of low-growing vegetation and refuse. As the plant is situated with a 350 hectare site of pine forest in the Kamariza location, the strong winds presented a real danger that it might spread.
"The direction, toward the national forest of Sounio, mobilised the fire brigade from the first, which is operating in the presence of its chief," Loukas said.
Deputy Civil Protection and Crises Management Minister Nikos Hardalias also sped to the scene, along with the Attica Deputy Regional Governor for Civil Protection Vasilis Kokkalis.
Acting on the recommendation of the fire brigade, authorities have evacuated children at the nearby summer camp Akrogiali and an informal refugee and migrant camp on a site owned by the development ministry, as well as residents of four settlements, in Agrileza, Kamariza, Agios Gerasimos and Sounio.
In the meantime, according to Loukas, the fire-fighting force sent to put out the flames has been reinforced with additional men and aircraft. Earlier it was announced that 49 fire men, 19 fire engines, two teams of fire-fighters on the ground, two aircraft and four helicopters were battling the flames.