Friday, June 21 2024

More than 600 firefighters battle raging wildfires in Greece!

firefighters Greece
More than 600 firefighters, including reinforcements from several European countries, backed by a fleet of water-dropping planes and helicopters, are battling three major wildfires in Greece, including the wildfire at Evros, one of Europe’s largest single wildfires, that burns for the 10th day!
 HDN Newsroom
The huge wildfire in the country’s north-eastern regions of Evros and Alexandroupolis, believed to have caused the deaths of 20 of the 21 wildfire-related deaths in the last week.
The blaze, one of Europe’s largest single wildfires, has destroyed vast tracts of forest and burned homes in the outlying areas of the city of Alexandroupolis. On Sunday, 295 firefighters, seven planes and five helicopters were tackling the blaze, the fire department said.
EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service that uses satellite imagery to provide mapping data of the Earth, announced yesterday that the wildfire had scorched 77,000 hectares (190,000 acres) of land and had 120 active hotspots.
On the north-western fringes of the Greek capital, another major wildfire has been blazing for days, scorching homes and burning into the national park on Mount Parnitha, one of the last green areas near Athens. The fire department said 260 firefighters, one plane and three helicopters were trying to extinguish the flames.
A third major wildfire started on Saturday on the Cycladic island of Andros and was still burning out of control on Sunday, with 73 firefighters, two planes and two helicopters dousing the blaze. Lightning strikes are suspected of having sparked the fire.
Greece has been plagued by daily outbreaks of dozens of fires over the past week as gale-force winds and hot, dry summer conditions combined to whip up flames and hamper firefighting efforts. On Saturday, firefighters tackled 122 blazes, including 75 fires that broke out in the 24 hours between Friday evening and Saturday evening, the fire department said.
With firefighting forces stretched to the limit, Greece has called for help from other European countries. Germany, Sweden, Croatia and Cyprus have sent aircraft, while dozens of firefighters from Romania, France, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Albania, Slovakia and Serbia are helping on the ground.
The causes of Greece’s two largest fires have not yet been determined. Officials have said arson or negligence is suspected for some of the smaller blazes, and several people have been arrested.
By Friday, fire department officials had arrested 163 people on fire-related charges since the start of the fire prevention season, said the government spokesperson Pavlos Marinakis, including 118 for negligence and 24 for deliberate arson. The police had made a further 18 arrests, according to the Greek government spokesperson.
On Saturday, Greek fire department officials arrested two men, one on the island of Evia and another in the central region of Larissa, for allegedly deliberately setting fire to dried grass and vegetation to spark wildfires.
Source: The Guardian