A firefighter tries to extinguish the flames next to motorcycles during a wildfire near Megara town, west of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
MEGARA, Greece — A wildfire that broke out in the west Attica area of Megara earlier on Wednesday is fully fledged and is now directly threatening homes which are scattered in the area, said the Fire Brigade late afternoon Wednesday.
The fire is burning pine trees through and beyond the agricultural area of Veniza moving westwardly, where high winds are propelling the flames which have reached people’s yards and patios, it was reported.
Residents at the Papagianeika area were instructed to evacuate via the 112 emergency number early evening Wednesday.
A precautionary evacuation of residents at the Zachouli area was carried out earlier in the afternoon.
Firefighting forces were reinforced a second time at Megara, where now 95 firefighters with 34 fire engines and 3 ground teams are assisted by 7 water-bombing aircraft and 6 helicopters.
Meanwhile, the police closed off road traffic at the so-called Anonymous Road at its intersection with the Megaron-Alepochori A-road towards Louba, and again at Anonymous Road from Ano Alepochori towards Louba.
The Penteli fire appears to be subsiding, with no active fronts and all forces now working to extinguish minor small blazes and to prevent any danger of a rekindling of the flames, according to the latest update on Wednesday afternoon from the civil protection service’s coordination centre.
Government sources reported that minor blazes are still burning in Dioni, Dasamari and even smaller fires in Anthousa, Panorama Pallinis and Drafi.
Very strong forces on the ground and 19 firefighting aircraft are operating to get the fire fully under control. They are assisted in their efforts by volunteers and the police, who are continuing to patrol the evacuated regions and directing traffic, as well as the military and forestry service personnel.
The sources noted that all phases of the operations are coordinated by the civil protection ministry’s task force.
Fires Threaten Athens’ Hillside Suburbs for Second Day
Nearly 500 firefighters struggled to contain a large wildfire that threatened hillside suburbs outside Athens for a second day Wednesday, after hundreds of residents were evacuated overnight.
At least two people were hospitalized with breathing problems and minor burns, while local officials said several houses had been burned in the fire around Mount Penteli, 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of the Greek capital.
“The conditions are very challenging. The priority was to safeguard human life, critical infrastructure and private property,” Fire Service spokesman Yiannis Artopios said.
He said winds of up to 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph) were making air support difficult for fire crews.
Greece has avoided the heat wave that is currently afflicting countries in Western Europe, but fire officials say that hot and dry conditions that have lasted for weeks, as well as longer-term temperature rises, have increased the overall risk of forest fires.
Five water-dropping aircraft and four helicopters were operating Wednesday at the fire north of Athens, officials said, adding that more than 600 people have evacuated from their homes so far.
More than 1,300 square kilometers (500 square miles) of land was damaged by wildfires in Greece last year, the worst damage recorded since 2007.
Leros, an enchanting island in Greece, has been officially certified as the country's first bike-friendly destination with the prestigious Bike Friendly Destination label, endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism.
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