Forest / Wild Fire in Greece on August 14 2017 08:50 AM (UTC).
Greece requested European civil protection assistance on Tuesday to help combat the forest fires raging near Athens, a spokesperson of the fire service, Stavroula Malliri told a press briefing. Due to the ferocity and the large scale of the fire, Greece activated the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism on Tuesday to request the forest firefighting planes to help stop the spread of raging wildfires in the northeastern suburbs of Athens. According to Malliri, France refused to contribute with 2 pairs of Canadair firefighting planes type CL415 noting that it needs its aerial means to cope with the fires raging inside the country. Cyprus is going to send six fire engines and 60 firemen to assist Greece's battle against wildfires. Justice Minister of Cyprus Ionas Nikolaou on Tuesday spoke on the phone with Greek Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas to organise the transfer of the firefighting force from Cyprus to Greece, according to Athens News agency.
Firefighters battled a wildfire northeast of the Greek capital for a third day on Tuesday, trying to prevent a blaze that scorched thousands of hectares of pine forest from spreading further. The fire near Athens started in Kalamos, a coastal holiday spot some 45 km (30 miles) northeast of the capital, and spread to three more towns, damaging dozens of homes. A state of emergency was declared in the area. "We are trying to contain the active fronts and the main priority is the protection of human life," fire brigade spokeswoman Stavroula Maliri told a press briefing. Three fire-fighting planes and six water-throwing helicopters operated through the morning, assisting 180 firefighters and about 100 military personnel battling the blaze on the ground near the town of Kapandriti. Rugged terrain dotted with small communities made the fire fighting difficult, with winds rekindling the blaze at many spots along the front. Thick billowing smoke rendered fire fighting from the air difficult. Authorities ordered a precautionary evacuation of two summer camps and homes in the area and evacuated a monastery after flames reached its fence on Monday. Hundreds of Kalamos residents fled, heading to the beach to spend the night. On Monday firefighters battled more than 90 forest fires across Greece, an outbreak fed by dry winds and hot weather that saw blazes burning near Athens, in the Peloponnese, and on the Ionian islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia. On Zakynthos, an island popular with foreign tourists, several fires continued to burn for a fourth day and authorities declared a state of emergency. One minister said those fires had been set deliberately. "It's arson according to an organised plan," Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis, who is the member of parliament for Zakythnos, told state TV when asked to comment on the dozen fires burning on the island. "There is no doubt about it."
A large wildfire north of Athens is threatening homes as it sweeps through pine forest for a second day, uncontained due to high winds. Fire Service officials two planes and five helicopters are fighting the blaze at Varnava, 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of the Greek capital, while a main road in the area is closed to traffic to give fire trucks better access. The fire burned out of control for a second day Monday after damaging at least 20 homes the previous day and forcing the evacuation of holiday campsites used in the area for children's vacations. No one was hurt, and Fire Service spokeswoman Brigade Manager Stavroula Maliri described all the evacuations as precautionary.