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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-08-23

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Fires still raging in Chalkidiki, Peloponnese

  • [01] Fires still raging in Chalkidiki, Peloponnese

    Firefighting efforts in the Kassandra leg of Chalkidiki peninsula were being concentrated Wednesday in an inaccessible forested area on the southwestern tip of the peninsula's first leg, as a massive forest fire that broke out Monday afternoon blazed into its third day, having already devastated 40,000 stremma (10,000 acres) of virgin pine and fir forest and olive groves, while hundres of firemen, backed by 75 fire engines, 20 water trucks and firefighting planes and helicopters continued to battle the flames.

    The fire continued to rage on 6-7 independent fronts on Tuesday night and, although the initially near-storm force winds of 6-7 beaufort velocity had abated, firefighting efforts continued to be hampered by thick smoke covering the region.

    According to firefighters, one of the fronts, between the villages of Mola Kalyva and Aghia Paraskevi, was rekindled at about 3:00 a.m. Wednesday as wind velocity increased once again, leading to the evacuation of two hotels in the area for precautionary reasons.

    A strong land force succeeded in containing the fire, while four Canadair planes and two helicopters resumed water-dropping operations at the first light of day.

    The front, which extended an estimated three kilometers, was constanty changing direction due to the wind, hampering the firefighting effort, but Fire Department officials were optimistic that the fire would be substantially contained during the day if wind velocity did not increase further.

    The situation was gradually improving in the eastern section of Kassandra, where the devastating fire broke out at 6:30 p.m. Monday. Kassandra forestry officials told ANA-MPA on Wednesday that more than 40,000 stremma of forest had burned, while damage and destruction to homes, tourism infrastructures and agricultural installations was also immense.

    There were also isolated fronts, in ravines and inaccessible areas, between the tourist towns of Kryopigi and Pefkohori, which were also being battled by land forces.

    Finally, in the southeastern section of Kassandra, electricity and water supply was being gradually restored, as local residents began taking account of the damages and losses.

    Meanwhile, fires continued to blaze unabated in several areas of the Peloponnese, such as Lakonia, Mani and Arcadia.

    The fire in Lakonia prefecture was burning for the fourth day on Wednesday, extending from Gythio to Areopolis, burning homes, farm cultivations and forest expanses.

    Some 220 firefighers, backed by 45 fire engines, four firefighting planes and a helicopter, were battling the blaze.

    Despite optimism earlier in the day that the fire would soon be brought under control, an increase in wind velocity was now hampering the firefighting effort.

    Civil Protection secretary general Panayotis Fourlas arrived at the fire front in the morning to help the Peloponnese Fire Brigade officials coordinate the operation.

    Meanwhile, another fire in a forested area near Chrysovitsi village in Arcadia prefecture has been contained, while a second fire in the area was still raging in a forested expanse on Mt. Mainalos. The Mainalos fire was being battled only by land forces, as all aerial forces were assisting the firefighting efforts in the two major fires blazing in Mani (Lakonia prefecture) and Kassandra (Chalkidiki peninsula).

    The mayors of Megalopolis and Trikolonon appealed to the relevant ministries on Wednesday that aerial means be despatched immediately to help in the Mainalos fire, otherwise the mountain's famed fir forest was in immediate threat of destruction, while Arcadia Prefect Dimitris Constantopoulos reiterated the appeal in a telphone contact with interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

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