Greek firefighters were fighting on Wednesday to contain the massive fire that has ravaged for over 30 hours one of the best preserved wildlife sanctuaries in Greece, on the island of Euboea, where the authorities already deplore "A huge ecological disaster".
The disaster, which evolves on a front of 12 km, did not make a victim, but resulted in the evacuation of four villages on the island of Euboea, the second Greek island by its size after Crete, located in about 100 km north-east of Athens. " It's a huge ecological disaster in a unique pine forest ", which has remained " intact " to this day, said outgoing regional governor Costas Bakoyannis.
The fire, which broke out on the road Tuesday at 3am (00h UTC), quickly spread, under the effect of gusts of wind, the very dense and dry vegetation of the center of the island , a pine forest classified for its wildlife and wild flora.
The disaster caused the evacuation of the villages of Kontodespoti, Macrymalli, Stavros and Platana, in the center of the island, and threatened the city of Psachna during the night, the authorities said. " From Psachna to Kontodespoti and Makrymalli, everything is burned. We are fortunate not to have human casualties , "said ANA's ANS spokesperson Thanassis Karakatzas, a civil protection official.
200 firefighters, nine helicopters
Greek Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias also welcomed the fact that there were no injuries or respiratory problems that required hospitalization. As a precaution, three ambulances remained stationed in the area, he tweeted.
Some 200 firefighters were on site, helped by 75 land vehicles, nine helicopters and seven water bombers, according to the Greek fire service. An Italian water bomber was to lend a hand in the day, before the reinforcement expected in the evening of two planes from Spain and another from Italy. At the request of Greece, the EU mobilized its resources from the Rescue mechanism, operational in anticipation of forest fires in Europe.
Greece, where the thermometer rose to 40 degrees, has been hit in recent days by a series of fires. The alert level of emergency services was placed at a very high level Friday by the head of civil protection because of the combination of scorching temperatures, high winds and drought.