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Live Updates: Large Fire Front Heading to Agios Stefanos

ATHENS — Greece's miserable Summer of 2021 – the resurging COVID-19 pandemic, a brutal heat wave – is getting worse as a massive fire in the northern Athens suburb of Varybobi that was being beaten back roared back, and more fires broke out or spread around the country.

Large fire front heading to Agios Stefanos

A large fire front heading to Agios Stefanos, a suburb north of Athens, currently burning the Pefkofito settlement in the north of of it, while it has reached the outer edges of Stamata, south of it, the Fire Brigade said on Friday evening.

Rodopoli and Stamata are being evacuated.

Firefighters are trying to put it out by ground and air forces, while police is removing residents of the areas and of settlements under an earlier evacuation order.

The front is part of the fire that broke out across from Afidnes, east of Varybobi and west of the national highway. The fire reached the national highway, moved north to Kapandriti and then turned south, nearly reaching the water reservoir of Limni Marathona.

Three more fronts are raging uncontrollably, at homes in Afidnes, Kryoneri and Ippokratios Politia, all of which have been evacuated.

Another fire, which broke out at the Ano Liossia neighborhood of Athens, burning low brush, is approaching the edge of Pikilon Oros, and is being fought by large ground and air firefighters.

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

Fire breaks out at Cape Sounion region

A fire has broken out in the Cape Sounion area, southern Attica, the Fire Brigade reported on Friday.

It is burning low vegetation northwest of a hotel complex, but it is not yet threatening either the building or residential communities.

A force of 10 firefighters with 5 fire engines are operating there.

Man dies from injuries during fire at Ippokratios Politia

A 38-year-old man has died from injuries sustained at Ippokratios Politia in northern Attica, KAT hospital announced on Friday afternoon.

The man was a resident in the area afflicted by the ongoing fires, and was transferred to KAT hospital in Athens at 14:00 on Friday with head injuries after a power pole fell on him. Even though he showed no vital signs, doctors tried to resuscitate him for 70 minutes, to no avail, added KAT.

Power to return to all networks not damaged by N. Attica fires

The Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) was ordered on Friday to restore power at the remaining networks that were not damaged by fire, but had been shut down for precautionary reasons.

The order came from the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO), which said power will be restored wherever there is no damage to the network by fire or other, local reason.

IPTO said they were working around issues of the ongoing fire fronts in north Attica which still threatened critical networks of the Agios Stefanos power station.

Ano Liossia fire not threatening residences

The fire that broke out earlier on Friday afternoon at Ano Liossia, a northern suburb of Athens, is not currently threatening any residential areas, the Fire Brigade said.

It broke out at low brush above the cemetery of the town, and 25 firefighters with 10 fire trucks, 2 airplanes and a helicopter are trying to put it out.

Fire breaks out in Ano Liossia, north of Athens

A fire broke out on Friday afternoon in Ano Liossia, a suburb north of Athens.

It began in an area with low brush above the city's cemetery, and firefighters are trying to put it out.

Kuwait sends solidarity, expresses readiness to send assistance

In phone call on Friday with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, the Foreign Minister of Kuwait Ahmed Nasser Mohammed Al Sabah expressed his solidarity over the wildfires and his country's readiness to assist Greece in combatting them.

 
Read more: Israel Responds to Greece's Request for Help; Sends Team of Firefighters

Fire in Theologos threatens inhabited area which was evacuated

A new wildfire broke out earlier on Friday at the settlement Theologos of Malesina, Fthiotida region.

According to sources the fire broke out shortly before 13:00 and spread quickly, threatening summer houses scattered in an area of pine forest.

A water dousing helicopter and fire engines are battling the blaze which is spreading quickly due to the strong winds blowing in the area. The fire has surrounded the houses which have been evacuated.

Message sent to those in Marathon Lake and Kaletzi to evacuate to Grammatiko

A message was sent to those in the Marathon Lake and Kaletzi areas in Attica on Friday afternoon, via the 112 emergency number, to evacuate toward Grammatiko. The message said: "If you are in the Marathon Lake or Kaletzi, Attica area evacuate now toward Grammatiko. Forest fire in your area. Self-protection instructions https://www.civilprotection.gr/el/dasikes-pyrkagies"

Two fire-fighters injured after their vehicle overturns

Two fire-fighters were rushed to Pyrgos hospital in Ilia on Friday after the vehicle in which they were riding overturned due to poor visibility caused by smoke.

The fire-fighters are being screened for possible injuries, while the head of the 6th Healthcare Region Yiannis Karvelis said the hospital had also treated a number of elderly people with respiratory problems, especially after those forced to leave their homes during precautionary evacuations.

Rolling power cuts in Attica from Friday to avoid blackout, HEDNO announces

A plan for controlled rolling power cuts in Attica is starting on Friday, according to the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO), in order to avoid a blackout.

"There will be rolling power cuts in Attica in accordance with the instructions of the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO), which are essential to preserve the production/demand balance and ensure the smooth functioning of the electricity grid on the mainland," HEDNO said.

It warned the public not to use lifts to avoid becoming trapped and be aware that power could come back without warning, so that all electric devices should be considered potentially 'live'.

The areas where the power cuts are planned are:

Vrilissia, Halandri, Patima Halandriou, Penteli, Gerakas and Polydroso

Voula, Vari, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza, Kavouri, Glyfada, Lagonisi, Agia Marina

Kifissia, Pefki, Neo Iraklio, Metamorphosi, Marousi, Menidi, Nea Philadelphia, Lykovrisi, Galatsi, Ano Kypseli, Paleo Psychiko, Filothei, Nea Ionia, Agii Anargyri, Ilion, Nea Halkidona, Kamatero, Perissos, Ano Patissia

Ilioupoli, Alimos, Kalamaki, Agios Dimitrios, Kallithea, Neos Kosmos, Nea Smyrni, Argyroupolis, Hymettus, Glyfada, Dafni, Kareas, Paleo Faliro, Elliniko.

Markopoulo, Porto Rafti, Vravrona, Koropi, Kalyvia, Paiania, Keratea

Kalamos, Varnavas, Afidnes, Polydendri, Malakasa, Ippokratios Politia

Nea Makri, Marathonas, Schinias, Kato Souli, Mati, Agios Andreas, Pikermi, Rafina, Kallitechnoupoli, Dionysos

Ekali, Nea Erithrea, Agios Stefanos, Drosia, Stamata, Rodopoli, Dionysos, Anixi, Varybobi, Kryoneri

Spata, Markopoulo, Loutsa, Koropi.

The duration of these cuts will depend on how the fire unfolds, with every effort made to keep them to a minimum.

The public are asked to avoid using energy-consuming appliances (ovens, washing machines, water heaters etc) at peak times, between 13:00-15:00 and from 18:00-22:00, and to set their air-conditioning units at 26C.

Intercity buses between Athens-Thessaloniki running normally but with delays

Intercity bus services between Athens and Thessaloniki are running as normal, barring delays caused by a roughly half-hour detour via Elefsina, Magoula and Thiva due to the closure of the national highway as a result of the Attica fires, the head of the Thessaloniki KTEL Stefanos Tsolis said on Friday.

Care home for the elderly in Agios Stefanos evacuated

Authorities proceeded with the precautionary evacuation of the Nea Thalpi care home for the elderly in Agios Stefanos in the early hours of Friday morning, due to the Attica wildfires in the region.

According to an announcement, the evacuation began at 3:00 on Friday morning, moving a total of 97 residents, of which 42 were bed-ridden. Those unable to walk were taken to the Pammakaristos, Elpis and Agia Eleni hospitals and the rest to either hotels or their families.

North Attica regions get 112 warning to protect against fire

In a new message from the 112 emergency number, residents in Varnavas, Kalamos, Markopoulos, Oropos, Milesi and Agii Apostoli were instructed to shut doors and windows and close off chimneys to stop sparks from entering the interior of their homes, due to a forest fire in their area.

Thousands of people in the middle of the night were told to flee their homes near Varybobi as the conflagration reached the areas of Kryoneri, Drosopigi and Ippokrateios Politeia.

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The fire jumped the Athens-Lamia national highway at Afidnes and was burning as well in Agios Stefanos, Polydendri, Kapandriti, Pefkofyto and other leafy suburbs in the foothills of Mount Parnitha, said Kathimerini in a report.

Residents in Vothonas and Marathon also received orders to head to the coast at 5 a.m. on Aug. 6 with the New Democracy government sending out alerts and employing a fire fighting arsenal that wasn't deployed in July 23, 2018 wildfires that killed 102 people northeast of Athens.

Strong winds were hindering the efforts of hundreds of firefighters on a number of fronts, who were being aided by water-dumping aircraft and helicopters and firefighters and equipment from France, Sweden and Cyprus.

The fires were blamed not only on the heat but uncleared forest areas that successive governments have let pile up, as well as debris tossed by people, and with homes built right up against trees and a lack of water tanks.

Reports said dozens of houses have been destroyed or damaged, while the Deputy Mayor of Afidnes, Giorgos Dostis, told SKAI TV the fire may have destroyed as much as 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres) as other municipal officials said the accumulating damage was devastating and mounting up.

Unlike the fires three years earlier though in which people weren't warned and the then-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA government had no disaster response plan and was accused of bungling the firefighting effort, there was no loss of life.

There a few dozen hospitalizations, mainly of firefighters who have sustained minor burns but also residents suffering from smoke inhalation, the paper said.

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