Greece, on hold because of the terrible fire in Euboea

Greece is beginning to control the hundred fires that have devastated nearly 60,000 hectares in the past twelve days, including that of northern Athens. The improvement has one painful exception: flames are consuming the island of Euboea, the second largest in the country, which is burning dramatically and, for the moment, out of control.

Thousands of desperate residents gazed yesterday at the inferno in which their virgin forests have become, devastated by the flames threatening their homes: “The fire is far from being brought under control”, confirmed the mayor of Mantudi to Skai TV.

Forest fire near Makrimalli on the island of Euboea.

ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP

Residents of the island accuse the government of prioritizing other fires like the one that already refers to northern Athens

The panorama in Evia is apocalyptic. On the one hand, there are neighbors struggling to fight the flames at the gates of their land and their homes after the fires burned some 20,000 hectares of forest. On the other hand, there are the evacuees waiting to return home, if they are still awake, while remaining on ferries, private or coastguard boats and in island facilities in unaffected areas. The governor of the Central Greece region, Fanis Spanos, assured today that around 3,000 people have been accommodated in hotels or sports centers after evacuating nearly 50 towns in Euboea.

Citizen outrage against official action is as unstoppable as the flames. For days residents and local authorities, in despair, accused the government of using the rhetoric of ‘saving lives, not homes’, abandoning them for days, with the evacuation as almost the only tool, as well as giving priority to the capital region of Attica.

The Deputy Minister of Civil Protection, Nikos Jardaliás, assured yesterday that the firefighting forces have been reinforced in Euboea with 17 planes, concentrated in residential areas, although he stressed that the extinction is ” extremely complicated” due to the strength and direction of the gusts of wind, turbulence and dense smoke, which makes visibility difficult.

Faced with criticism of the lack of means in Euboea, the lieutenant general of the fire brigade, Nikos Diamandis, assured that the planes and helicopters carry out the operations deemed to be the most effective. According to him, the heat load is so high that he likened the extinction to “pouring water to extinguish the lava of a volcano”.

High temperatures and fear of strong winds call for caution in order to control the continuation of the fires in the country

The virulence of the flames caused this Sunday that a fire plane crashed in Greece this Sunday, but there were no victims, according to members of the fire service.

The Pezetel plane crashed while boarding a fire on the Ionian island of Zakynthos in western Greece. The pilot is safe and has been helped by other firefighters, the ANA news agency reported.

High temperatures and fears of a resumption of strong winds are prompting Greek authorities to opt for caution as the rest of the country’s fires are increasingly under control, including that north of Athens, which is being fought by national forces and firefighters. strangers. . Although the authorities do not take them for controlled and fear that at any moment a spark will bring them back to the starting line.

In the area near Mount Parnes, some 500 police officers are patrolling parks, hills and other green spaces in Attica to prevent further fires, and as of yesterday 19 people suspected of setting the fires have been identified. So far, one person has been killed in the fire. A 38-year-old man died of injuries caused by a falling high-voltage electricity pole.

In Turkey, which has also been suffering the devastating effects of the fire for days, eight people have died. Wind and high temperatures made it difficult to extinguish the six fires that remained active yesterday, including an outbreak that could affect the Yeniköy thermal power station in the south-west of the country. To protect the Yeniköy factory, trees have been felled within a radius of five kilometers and ditches dug, while dozens of firefighters and volunteers are trying to prevent the advance of the flames with water tanks.

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