The fire brigade was bracing Thursday for a second difficult night battling a wildfire near the resort town of Loutraki in the regional unit of Corinthia in southern Greece.
Evacuation orders were issued for 18 settlements as the flames ripped through rugged forest terrain.
Two monasteries and one convent were also evacuated as more than 2,000 hectares of dense pine forest and several houses had been destroyed by late yesterday afternoon in this year’s first major blaze, which started on Wednesday.
The fire, which blanketed much of Athens with smoke, reportedly began in an olive grove in Schinos, Corinth amid gusty winds of up to 6 Beaufort. The clouds of smoke also reached the Cyclades islands.
Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias warned of a tough night ahead during a press briefing.
“We are doing battle under adverse conditions,” stated Hardalias, but stressed that the entirety of available forces are in the area.
There were 265 firefighters in the area, as well as support from the Hellenic Police and the Hellenic Armed Forces, while assistance was also being mobilized from all over mainland Greece. Hardalias said that all available airplanes and helicopters were operating in the area.