ATHENS – Strong fire fighting forces are operating in Dioni and Dasamari up to Marathonos Avenue, where the active fire fronts from the blaze that began in Penteli on Tuesday night are located, fire brigade spokesperson Yiannis Artopios said in an emergency press briefing on Wednesday.
A smaller front was burning west of the Drafi settlement, he said, while various fires were burning the Anthousa area and fire fighting forces were ranged along the length of Marathonos Avenue to keep the fire in its northern section.
Artopios reported a constant improvement in the northeastern, north and northwestern flanks of the fire, where there was currently no actively burning front.
“All civil protection forces are working incessantly in the field. Safeguarding human life remains our top priority, as does the protection of crucial public sector infrastructure of vital importance and the private property of citizens,” he repeated, adding that arson investigation teams are already conducting inquiries to determine the cause of the fire.
The forces on the ground are being assisted by nine firefighting planes and 10 helicopters, of which one is being used to coordinate air operations, Artopios said. Through the use of 112 messages and the assistance of the police, he added, there have been organised evacuations of citizens in an area inhabited by 90,000 residents.
Thirty people were taken to hospital ambulances, including three people with burn injuries. The others were people suffering from respiratory problems and minor injuries, including three fire fighters, from the areas of Pallini, Gerakas, Anthousa and Penteli.
Artopios said that 10 ambulances are spread about to transport people that need help, with the Special Department of Disaster Medicine has been activated. In addition, 50 people were evacuated, mainly from care homes, as a precaution.
He noted that the EU’s Copernicus service has also been activated to map the area affected by the fire and warned that Wednesday was another day of high fire risk for the greater part of the country, with aerial surveillance patrols to continue, as well as patrols by the fire brigade, police and military forces in forests, national parks and vulnerable areas.