Greece's airborne firefighting fleet in ‘borderline’ state

The state of Greece’s fleet of firefighting planes was described as “more or less borderline” by Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias on Wednesday as a wildfire broke out southeast of Athens.

“Despite the major efforts by the air force to maintain the planes, they are very old,” said Dendias, who also lamented the fact that one of the six “newer” Canadair CL-415 water-bombing planes sank earlier this week in the Thermaic Gulf.

The pilots were not hurt.

However, speaking at the fire service’s operations center in Attica, Dendias underlined the fact that even with fewer resources the area of land burned by wildfires last summer was around half as much as the previous year.

His comments came as firefighters battled the first such blaze of this year in Attica.

The fire broke out in the Ano Daskaleio area of Keratea, southeast of Athens.

Mostly low vegetation was burned by the fire, which was brought under control in the late afternoon.