Air units join the fight to control the blaze in Greater Athens


At least 420 firefighters, including a team from Romania, battled to contain a fire as night fell that ripped across Mount Penteli and came close to homes in the greater Athens region

3 Canadair 415s, two Erickson helicopters, a Bell214 and a BK117, have started operating in the area

The aerial units of the Hellenic Fire Brigade began to fly at around 06:00 on Wednesday morning to assist the ground units in extinguishing the fire fronts in Attica.

The main objective for the aerial assets is to operate as the conditions are difficult both due to the strong winds and the thick smoke that has covered the fronts in Gerakas, Anthousa, and Pallini.

Due to the density of the smoke, throwing water onto the flames is not yet possible, but the operations will start around the perimeter, mainly on the eastern side of the fire, on the back side of Penteli.

Wind gusts reached ten Beaufort yesterday, forcing aircraft such as the smaller Air Tractors to withdraw as they could not make their approach towards the flames.

Firefighters and citizens with breathing problems and minor injuries were transferred to hospitals in Athens for assistance, according to an announcement by EKAB.

Three firefighters with breathing problems and minor injuries were transferred to 251 Military Hospital, and five civilians were transported by ambulance to hospitals with slight burns.

Greece reports wildfires almost every summer due to heat waves or arsons. Last year, a series of blazes scorched over 100,000 hectares of forests and farmland and damaged some 2,000 homes and businesses in several parts of the country.

In 2018, the country's worst-ever fire disaster killed 102 people in the coastal resort Mati, near Athens.
This year, under a European pilot program to protect forests from fire, 200 firefighters from six countries across Europe including Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland are positioned in Greece until September to assist in its fire prevention and rescue operations.