Wild fires burn for the third day
Posted by Greeka on 24 Aug 2009
Wild fires are still burning many areas and islands all over Greece, with Attica having been the most affected. Till now, more than 180,000 sq.m. from the north eastern part of Attica, close to Athens, have been burnt down and the fire is still burning pure virgin forests and villages.
The fires started around sunset on Friday, August 21st, in the rural area of Grammatiko, about 50 km north eastern of Athens. Although at first it seemed that the fire was controllable, on Saturday morning the flames stroke due to heavy winds and reached the villages of Varnavas, Marathon, Agios Stefanos, Pendeli, Pikermi, Pallini and many other smaller settlements inbetween. Residents were asked to evacuate the areas but many of them stayed to help the firefighters save their homes.
The strong winds that blow from Friday till now have made the work of firefighters impossible, while it sometimes prevented even the firefighting helicopters and planes to fly. Along its way, the fire burnt down several houses, cars, churches and public buildings, while local governors and experts talk of an unbelievable ecological tragedy.
This forestal area that today looks like a moonscape was the last green area around Athens. Now that it has been burnt down, experts say that the northern winds to Athens will not be filtered and temperatures in the capital may raise even up to 6 degrees of Celcium, not to mention the flooding problems that the Attica peninsula will face.
Refering to these fires, some accuse the government of having no plan to fight them, while others talk of a well-organized conspiracy to clear the area for property development.
The total of the firefighting forces of Attica are still trying to put the fires down and Greece has also asked for the contribution of other countries. Helicopters and planes have come from France, Italy, Cyprus and Turkey to help and six more planes from Austria are expected.
However, apart from Attica, other areas and islands are also theatened by fires. Residents of Porto Germeno, a tourist village west of Athens, are now evacuating the area. Fires in Zakynthos have burnt down 3,000 sq.m. of forests, while still uncontrolled are the fires in Karystos Evia and Skyros island. According to official sources, there are now 67 active fires sheets all over Greece.
The photos are from www.tanea.gr