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New York

Thu, 12 Dec 2019 23:41 GMT

Continuing Blaze on Greek Island Sparks Ecological Disaster


7Dnews London

Wed, 14 Aug 2019 10:20 GMT

Firefighters on the Greek island of Evia on Wednesday August 14th were still battling to contain a fire that has caused extensive damage to a mountain wildlife habitat after threatening four communities, AFP reported. "It's a huge ecological disaster in a unique, untouched pine forest," said acting regional governor Costas Bakoyannis.

The fire that broke out in the early hours of Tuesday August 13th on Greece's second-largest island and Platana, and threatened the town of Psachna during the night, officials said.

Over 200 firefighters were in action backed by 75 fire trucks, nine water-bombing helicopters and seven planes along a 12-kilometre front, managing to avert damage to inhabited areas.

An Italian water bomber was expected to join the fighters later in the day after Greece requested EU assistance. A second Italian plane and two more from Spain were due to arrive by the evening.

Three ambulances were stationed close to the area as a precaution, health minister Vassilis Kikilias said in a tweet.

He added that there were no injuries or respiratory problems that required hospitalisation at the height of the emergency on Tuesday August 13th.

Greece has been hit by a spate of wildfires since the weekend, fanned by gale-force winds and temperatures of 40°C (104°F).

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who cancelled his summer vacation and returned to Athens on Tuesday August 13th, acknowledged that the fire crews had fought a gruelling battle, with the fire department handling about 50 blazes daily.

"I am aware that our firefighters, particularly over the last five days, have given their all, they are without sleep and often without food," Mitsotakis said.

Other fires on Tuesday August 13th were contained on the island of Thassos, the central region of Viotia, and in the Peloponnese region.

On Monday August 12th, a major forest fire threatening homes in Peania, an eastern suburb of Athens, was brought under control. At least two houses were destroyed but there were no reports of injuries.

On Sunday August 11th, a fire on the small island of Elafonissos, in the Peloponnese, was brought under control after a two-day battle.

Two more fires were extinguished on Saturday August 10th in Marathon, close to Mati, the coastal resort where 102 people died last year in Greece's worst fire disaster.