Wildfire Rages Near Athens; Homes Broken, Hospital Evacuated

ATHENS (Reuters) – A wildfire fuelled by gale-force winds raged within the mountainous area of Penteli close to Athens on Wednesday morning, burning properties and prompting authorities to order the evacuation of no less than 9 areas and a hospital.

Thick clouds of smoke darkened the sky over Mount Penteli the place the fireplace broke out round 1430 GMT on Tuesday, some 27 km (16 miles) north of central Athens.

There have been no stories of accidents, the fireplace brigade stated.

About 485 firefighters and 120 fireplace engines have been deployed to attempt to tame the blaze, which was burning on a number of fronts. Greater than seven helicopters and planes have been dumping water on the flames, although they’d halted operations through the night time for security causes.

“It was a difficult night,” stated Fireplace Division spokesperson Yiannis Artopios in a televised assertion, including that the wind pace exceeded 80 kilometres (50 miles)per hour.

“Due to the intensity and speed of the winds, the fire constantly changed direction throughout the night, which made fighting it, in the middle of the night, even more difficult,” he stated.

Native authorities stated the fireplace had burned some properties within the space of Pallini. The hearth brigade wouldn’t verify the data.

Authorities had ordered the evacuation of 9 areas, together with Pallini and Gerakas.

One hospital and the Nationwide Observatory of Athens had been evacuated as a precaution. Site visitors was halted on roads resulting in Penteli and police helped no less than 600 residents to seek out their manner out of the fire-stricken areas.

Robust winds have been forecast to persist till Wednesday afternoon.

The hearth brigade stated that 28 firefighters from Romania have been helping native firefighters. Greater than 200 firefighters and tools from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland might be on standby through the hottest months of July and August in Greece.

Final yr, wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in numerous components of Greece because the nation skilled its worst warmth wave in 30 years.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou, Angeliki Koutantou, Karolina Tagaris and Vassilis Triandafyllou; Enhancing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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