Villages evacuated after major forest fire in conservation area near Athens

An evacuation has been ordered in a Greek village, as firefighters battle a 20 square kilometre blaze in woodland.

No deaths have been reported after the fire which broke out on Wednesday night in the Geraneia mountains, 55 miles (90km) west of Athens.

More than 10 villages and two monasteries have been evacuated since the blaze broke out after strong winds moved it eastward into Attica province.

Some 270 firefighters battled the blaze for a third day, but the deputy citizen’s protection minister said he is “optimistic that during the day, with improved weather conditions, the fire will be contained”.

The fire has burnt mainly woodland and vegetation, a fire brigade official said.

“We have managed with army equipment to open the roads and to approach almost next to the places where there are resurgences,” head of the fire brigade, Stefanos Kolokouris, told ERT News in Greece.

The firefighters are being supported by more than 80 fire trucks, 17 aircrafts and one helicopter.

Greek NGO ANIMA said this fire has occurred “at the worst time”.

“The fire in Schinos occurs at the worst time when the babies are still in nests, branches and burrows,” ANIMA said on Facebook.

“Few of the little creatures will survive. When the flames go out and access is allowed, we say goodbye.”

In September 2020, a wildfire broke out in parts of Greece, Spain and Italy, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes.

In Greece, four water-dropping planes and two helicopters helped dozens of firefighters contain a huge blaze on Sunday at the edge of one of the country’s most important archaeological sites – Mycenae.

Located around 120km (75 miles) southwest of Athens, the Bronze Age fortress city managed to survive the fire undamaged, according to culture minister Lina Mendoni.

In 2018, 102 people died near Mati beach, near Athens, in Greece’s worst-ever fire disaster.

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