Fire in Evia approaches Monastery of St David the Elder

Evia fire monastery

The police and local authority staff began the evacuation of the villages of Rovies and Paleochori on Wednesday afternoon, at the orders of the fire brigade, whilst a monastery is also under threat.

The Central Greece Region governor Fanis Spanos was in Rovies, and told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency's that the flames were very close to the houses "and we have an obligation to save the people first and foremost."

Residents in the area received a new message from the 112 emergency number advising them to evacuate Rovies and Paleochori as they are in immediate danger from the fire, while the road has closed in order to send reinforcements toward Kalamoudi, the Monastery of St. David the Elder and Drymonas.

A short while ago, fire fighters saw huge flames surround the village Damia, while the fire front careered out of control, surrounding villages and trapping the people and fire fighters within.

Fire fighting vehicles have become trapped in various areas as roads between the village of Damia and Paleochori are no longer passable.

Three aircraft and one helicopter are continuing to drop tonnes of water but there are multiple fronts and calls for help, either from the air or the ground are constantly coming in.

The situation with the fire around Limni on Evia was critical on Wednesday afternoon as the monastery of St David the Elder in Drymonas became surrounded by flames that were no more than 400 metres away.

Monks remain in the monastery, despite being told by police, local authorities and the fire brigade to evacuate, deciding to stay in order to defend it, while local residents rushed to the monstery to assist them.

"The situation is very critical. The flames rise up to 30 and 40 metres in the forest area and have surrounded the monastery. We can't breath from the smoke," said the abbot of the monastery to AMNA.

"The picture is of a living hell and no firefighting aircarft has appeared yet to douse water," he added.

The specific fire front is one of the most dangerous as it moving toward the monastery and the Drymonas area, which has been evacuated. The firemen have set up a defence zone with large vehicles around the monastery and are trying to keep away the blaze.

Meanwhile, a fire front has rekindled and is once again burning strongly near the village Kourkouli, which was evacuated on Tuesday, where the situation continues to be critical.

The Russian firefighting aircraft B-200 as well as a helicopter and three PZL aircraft are operating in the area, while Canadair aircraft are expected to arrive to offer assistance.

Another fire front is raging at Kalamoudi after the flames rekindled and is now threatening the village.

READ MORE: Fire fighting Planes join battle in Evia, Greece.