Fires still raging across Athens

greece summer fire 2022

Active fire fronts were still burning in the suburbs of Gerakas, Anthousa, Pallini and Dioni, as well as on either side of Marathonas Avenue, a fire brigade spokesperson said in an emergency briefing on Wednesday morning.

On the map that he showed, there were scattered blazes all around the perimeter, with active fronts in the above five areas.

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According to the spokesperson, emphasis was being given to the southwest side of the fire near the Attiki Odos highway and the facilities of the Athens public transport organisation, as well as on the southeast, again near the Attiki Odos highway, near the Vianex facilities.

In addition, great efforts were being made to protect the urban fabric within the perimeter of the fire.

“Our top priority remains to safeguard human life but also the protection of crucial public infrastructure of vital importance and the private property of the citizens,” he said.

He reported that a strong force of 485 fire fighters, 120 fire engines and 28 ground teams were still operating against the fires, while the Romanian fire fighters remained at the scene.

The mobile operations centre “Olympos” was coordinating the fire-fighting effort, with unmanned drones used to relay images of what is happening from the air.

Their efforts were being assisted by five fire fighting planes and four helicopters from the air, one of which was coordinating the effort, while another four planes and three helicopters were soon to join the battle against the flames.

Additional assistance was being provided by the armed forces, the forestry service, the ambulance service, local authorities and the Hellenic Police, which had provided 626 officers and 232 vehicles to facilitate the safe movement of the citizen to safe locations and the protection of their property.

Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides and the entire leadership of the ministry were at the Crisis Management Centre and were in constant communication with the ministries of health, interior and citizen protection.

The spokesperson said that there were constant updates on the state of the blazes so that decisions can be taken quickly for the provision of necessary assistance.

For his part, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrived at the Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Ministry’s National Coordination Centre for Operations and Crises Management at 5:30 on Wednesday morning, according to AMNA.

Raging wildfires continued to burn throughout the night and into the early morning hours on Wednesday in the northeast suburbs of Athens, with fire fighters and civil protection services engaged in a desperate battle to control flames that were fanned by gale-force winds with high speed, intensity and constantly changing direction.

The blaze that started on Tuesday afternoon very quickly spread from Mount Penteli to the surrounding areas, reaching the Attiki Odos highway, with fronts blazing on Wednesday morning in Pallini, Anthousa, Penteli, Drafi and Gerakas.

The winds continued to be extremely high, with gusts exceeding 80 km/ hour, but fire-fighting planes took to the air to fight the flames at first light.

Authorities said there was no issue with a natural gas leak from the blaze in Penteli but the Hellenic Police have carried out 600 evacuations of citizens to safe locations and five messages have been sent out through the night via the emergency 112 number to advise citizens to evacuate.

Specifically, this was around the areas of Penteli, the 414 military hospital, the eastern parts of Gerakas, Voula Pikermiou and Panorama Pallinis, Pallini, Nea Pallini and to avoid using Marathonos Avenue from the Attiki Odos highway near Pikermi due to the fire.

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