Greece, plagued by forest fires, request the help of European water bombers



The Greek government issued a request for European aid to fight against forest fires that broke Friday, July 17 near Athens and in the southern Peloponnese. At least two villages were evacuated.

The prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, said after a meeting with officials of the firefighters he had made a request for European aid for four additional water bomber aircraft were dispatched to the scene. The fires are fanned by strong winds that continued Saturday, and promise difficult times for the Greek fire.

France has responded positively to the call on Friday through the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve. The latter has announced the sending of two Canadair on Saturday and a reconnaissance plane in the direction of Greece. According to the minister, there is a “significant effort while on French territory, the season of forest fires already highly mobilized civil security forces” .

The wind direction is constantly changing

The burning bush on Mount Ymette, located 10 kilometers from the center of Athens, said he was late morning. It mobilized in late afternoon 140 firefighters, 60 vehicles, seven aircraft and 4 helicopters. Fifty nuns were evacuated from a monastery at the foot of this mountain, informed the fire in late afternoon.

In Laconia, the fire started on the night of Thursday to Friday. Five houses were burned. By late afternoon, 120 firefighters, 51 vehicles, three aircraft and two helicopters were still deployed. Dia Tzanetea, sub-prefect of Laconia, said that “the situation was tragic” near the town of Neapolis, because “the wind direction is constantly changing and there are new fronts” .

Four other fires occurred during the day: on Evia, an island close to Athens (where a plane was sent); to Malakassa, 40 kilometers north of Athens (two aircraft); near Nafplion in the Peloponnese; and Spathovouni, near Corinth.

Georges Harakiris, Vice Mayor of Heliopolis, one of the neighboring districts of Mount Ymette, estimated that the fire on Mount Ymette was “voluntary” because the residents had heard explosions before the outbreak of fires. Police have not confirmed the information.

Forest fires are common in summer due to strong winds and high temperatures. The last and most devastating fire dates back to 2007, dozens of people were killed and thousands of hectares of forests were destroyed in the Peloponnese and on the island of Evia.