Greece has been battling wildfires across the country on the sixth day of blazes that have spiraled into the evacuation of thousands of people from the areas in flames.
Scenes of inferno have been documented all over the country while the sky in the capital Athens turned dark with ash flying near cities surrounded by fire.
The fire in the northern island of Evia is still burning, obliterating thousands of hectares of pristine forests, burning homes, and forcing hundreds of vacationers to flee.
Fire department teams along with planes, helicopters, and reinforcement from other countries are battling with the blazes that continue burning on Sunday. More reinforcement is expected.
Some 575 firefighters, 35 teams on foot, 89 vehicles are fighting the Evia wildfire, while support from other countries has been sent as well. Around 112 Romanian and 100 Ukrainian firefighters are currently working to extinguish the fire, with four helicopters and three planes, including a massive Beriev-200 plane from Russia, joining the efforts.
Another three villages were evacuated in Evia on Sunday as they surrendered to the flames.
The Evia fire that has multiple fronts has now reached Galatsona, Ellinika, and Agriovotano villages, while Gouves, Artemisio, Kastri, Vouliki, and Pefki were also urged to evacuate through the 112 European emergency messaging system, asking residents to move towards Istiaia to the north.
“The fronts are endless,” Angelos Missirlis, deputy mayor of Istiaia-Edipsos – where evacuees are directed – told state-run Athens News Agency.
“All villages are a single fire front. At places the fire expands, at other places it rekindles. This fire cannot be fought by heavy machinery” opening buffer zones, he said, “we need airborne forces immediately.”
Since the early hours of Sunday, firefighters have been battling to save Vasilika Ktimata, the former summer royal residence in Varibobi that has been burning for almost a week, which triggered the evacuation of thousands of residents from the northern suburbs of Athens since Tuesday.
The fire erupted in Varibobi, a suburb of Athens, on Tuesday and it reignited on Thursday spreading to the east and has so far destroyed houses and businesses, including the Mt. Parnitha National Park, one of the last forests in Athens.
According to reports, the situation in Mt. Parnitha is currently under control.
Deputy Civil Protection Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said on Sunday afternoon in a live briefing that the situation in the Peloponnese fire is currently stable with some rekindling of fires.
“We have another difficult afternoon ahead, and another tough night,” Hardalias said, asking people to faithfully observe orders for evacuations. “The battle is ongoing,” he remarked.
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