Greece: progress in fighting Geraneia fires


More than 270 firefighters continued to fight on Saturday, the third day in a row, several scattered active hotspots of a large forest fire in Greece, conquering the main front in the mountains of Geraneia, some 90 kilometers west of Athens.

The disaster, which began off the coast of the Gulf of Corinth on Wednesday night, is one of the most important fires in 20-30 years, occurring this month, so early in the season, “fire chief Stefanos Kolokouris complained to ANT1 television on Saturday. .

If the improvement in weather conditions made it possible to put out the main fire front, on Friday night, “several scattered active hearths remained,” firefighters said.

More than 270 firefighters, backed by sixteen planes, continued to be deployed on Saturday, with the help of the military, firefighters said they remain cautious about the possible continuation of fire in these steep mountains west of the Corinthian isthmus.

“The fire burned more than 55km2 of pine forest and other land, especially agricultural land,” Euthymios Lekkas, a professor of environmental disaster management at the University of Athens, reported on Saturday.

“It is a major environmental disaster that will require work to prevent landslides and terrible floods in the autumn,” he added on the public television channel ERT.

The city of Athens in thick smoke caused by a large forest fire on May 20, 2021 in Greece (AFP – ANGELOS TZORTZINIS)

As soon as the fire is fully under control, the extent of the damage will be assessed, especially for farmers and growers in the area, the Civil Protection assured.

This is the first major forest fire of the season. He spoke on Wednesday night near Schinos, a village along the seaside resort of Loutraki, in the Gulf of Corinth. The fire apparently started with the fire of a plant in an olive grove, according to the Civil Protection.

No casualties were reported, but houses were damaged and destroyed. A dozen villages and hamlets were evacuated on both sides of the Geraneia mountain range, according to the Civil Protection.

Residents observe the flames of a forest fire near the village of Pefkaneas, west of Athens, on May 20, 2021 in Greece (AFP - LOUISA GOULIAMAKI)

Residents observe the flames of a forest fire near the village of Pefkaneas, west of Athens, on May 20, 2021 in Greece (AFP – LOUISA GOULIAMAKI)

Greece faces strong forest fires every summer, triggered by drought, strong winds and temperatures often in excess of 30 degrees.

In 2018, 102 people died in a fire in the coastal town of Mati, near Athens.



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