NEWS

Wildfires at Spetses and Anavysos under control

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

The blaze on Spetses burnt part of the forest between Aghii Anargyri and Xylokeriza.

TAGS: Fires

The wildfires on the Argosaronic island of Spetses and at Anavysos, east of Athens, were under control on Wednesday morning after a difficult night with strong winds that threatened to fan them further.

The forest fire on the southwest part of Spetses appeared to be contained by the dozens of firefighters on the island.

The fire broke out on Tuesday at noon at the forest near Aghii Anargyri, near the top of the island’s mountain, and headed west toward the beach before swinging south toward Xylokeriza. This is the same forest area that suffered from the 1990 wildfire. It has undergone extensive reforestation.

The few scattered holiday homes in that area were not damaged, thanks mainly to the rapid response of the local and regional fire service. Six helicopters and at least three airplanes contributed to the battle with the fire on the touristic island up to late in the evening on Tuesday. A helicopter and two aircraft resumed operations on Wednesday morning along with 70 men on the ground plus many volunteers.

The island’s mayor Panayiotis Lyrakis spoke of a possible arson, on which his deputy, Paraskevi Stofyla expressed her certainty.

Swimmers at the popular beach of Aghii Anargyri were evacuated with sea taxis as the flames appeared particularly threatening.

“The blaze passed passed by 10-11 holiday houses but fortunately there was no damage caused,” stated Lyrakis.

Stofyla added early on Wednesday morning on Skai TV that “fortunately all night the land forces waged their battle, the fire is out by 90 percent and we are expecting for air support for the fire to be completely extinguished.”

The head of the island's room rental association, Christos Orlof, praised firefighters and volunteers for their swift response that prevented further damage on Spetses.

The wildfire at Anavysos, southern Attica, has also come under control, the Fire Department said. The fire was not related to the one that burnt from Kalivia Thorikou southward to Anavysos and Saronida on Monday. This one broke out at Aghios Panteleimonas on Tuesday afternoon, but by Wednesday morning it was almost extinguished.

Other fires across Greece, including those at Adamio near Ancient Epidavros in the Peloponnese, at Soulinari near Pylos and at Aghios Matthaios near Hania on Crete were also contained. However, Wednesday is another day with strong winds and the state has issued a warning of a great risk for more wildfires.

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