Large wildfire engulfs homes in coasts near Greece’s Athens

August 14, 2017 10:30 pm
A large wildfire continues to burn lands and houses in coasts near the Greek capital as firefighters struggle to bring under control back-to-back blazes reported across the country.
Civil protection official Ioanna Tsoupra said Monday that the fire had been raging for a second day in Kalamos, about 45 kilometers east of Athens, adding that a wide front of the coast, including vacation homes, was aflame.
“It’s a strong fire in an area full of summer homes,” said Tsoupra, without elaborating on whether there were any injuries.
Authorities said they had mobilized more than 200 firefighters with over 100 fire engines, water trucks and a handful of aircraft to deal with the fire near the capital. Residents in Oropos had been earlier urged to evacuate for their safety while the local municipality ordered the closure of a monastery in the area.

This photo taken on August 14, 2017, shows a burned area after a wildfire near the village of Kalamos, about 45 kilometers east of the Greek capital Athens. (Photo by AFP)

Reports from other parts of the country indicated that fire services were battling two more blazes on Monday. Authorities said a fire near Thessaloniki, ’s second largest city, was no immediate emergency but added that another blaze in the southern peninsula of Peloponnese could cause serious problems.
“The fire near Thessaloniki is almost under control but we are worried about the new fire in the Peloponnese, around Amaliada, because it’s very close to a village of 150 inhabitants,” a spokesman of the fire service said.

Flames rise as a wildfire burns near the village of Varnavas, north of Athens, Greece, August 14, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Greece has reported some 91 fires over the past 24 hours, including 22 in the tourist island of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea.
Officials hinted that the fires might have been caused by arson. Zakynthos’ fire chief Vassilis Matteopoulos, however, said, “Such a situation is unheard of.”
A total of 77 were killed and 250,000 hectares (620,000 acres) of lands were ravaged when large wildfires hit the Peloponnese and the island of Evia in 2007.
Officials have warned that the risk of more blazes remains high as strong winds and high temperatures normally cause such problems in Greece at this time of year.
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