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Fire in Evia Critical as Flames Approach Monastery of St David the Elder

ATHENS — The situation with the fire around Limni is Evia was critical on Wednesday afternoon as the monastery of St David the Elder in Drymonas became surrounded by flames that were no more than 400 metres away. Monks remain in the monastery, despite being told by police, local authorities and the fire brigade to evacuate, deciding to stay in order to defend it, while local residents rushed to the monstery to assist them.

"The situation is very critical. The flames rise up to 30 and 40 metres in the forest area and have surrounded the monastery. We can't breath from the smoke. The picture is of a living hell and no firefighting aircarft has appeared yet to douse water," said the abbot of the monastery to the Athens -Macedonian News Agency.

The specific fire front is one of the most dangerous as it moving toward the monastery and the Drymonas area, which has been evacuated. The firemen have set up a defence zone with large vehicles around the monastery and are trying to keep away the blaze.

Meanwhile, a fire front has rekindled and is once again burning strongly near the village Kourkouli, which was evacuated on Tuesday, where the situation continues to be critical.

The Russian firefighting aircraft B-200 as well as a helicopter and three PZL aircraft are operating in the area, while Canadair aircraft are expected to arrive to offer assistance.

Another fire front is raging at Kalamoudi after the flames rekindled and is now threatening the village.

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