Forest fire triggers evacuation of seaside areas in Athens
Steph Deschamps / July 19, 2023
A forest fire, fanned by strong winds, broke out on Monday in Kouvaras, 50 kilometers east of Athens, the Greek fire department announced, while the authorities ordered the evacuation of several seaside areas as a precaution.
It's a difficult fire, with very strong winds of up to 7 Beaufort (50-60 km/h)", said Yannis Artopios, spokesman for the fire department, while Greece has been experiencing a heatwave since Thursday, with peaks of over 44°C in the center of the country.
Seven water bombers, four helicopters and 150 firefighters, including a team of 30 Romanian firefighters, were battling the two fronts of the fire, according to local media.
The fire, which destroyed undergrowth, spread rapidly to the south of the Attica region, near the seaside areas of Lagonissi, Anavyssos and Saronida, where there are many holiday homes.
Traffic was brought to a halt on the roads around Kalyvia, which were engulfed in thick smoke.
The authorities asked residents to leave the area as a precaution, while a monastery was evacuated.
Near the Isthmus of Corinth, in a forested area close to a famous seaside resort, Loutraki, a fire was also in progress, reported the Greek news agency ANA.
Precautionary evacuations were also ordered, according to the same source. The mayor of the town of Loutraki, Giorgios Gkionis, confirmed on the private television channel Skai that 1,200 children had been withdrawn from their summer camps for shelter.
According to firefighters quoted by ANA, ground and air forces have already been mobilized, while high winds are blowing in the area.