Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said a fire that began in northern Athens earlier in the day continued to burn on three fronts in the residential suburbs of Varybobi, Adames and Thrakomedones on Tuesday night, while adding that the combination of extremely high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity levels is making the task of bringing the blaze under control that much harder.
Speaking during a televised public briefing from the fire service’s Crisis Management Center in the suburb of Halandri, Hardalias described the wildfire that broke out in the early afternoon in a densely vegetated part of Varybobi as “dangerous” and an “extreme weather phenomenon.”
He also announced that hotels across the Greek capital are providing rooms for thousands of evacuees from the ongoing wildfire that has already destroyed an unspecified number of houses and knocked out part of the electricity grid. The 1135 hotline is available for directing people to the hotels offering shelter, he said.
Civil protection authorities have already cleared thousands of residents out of Varybobi, Thrakomakedones and Adames, and at 8 p.m. ordered the evacuation of the area known as the Olympic Village after its role in the 2004 Athens Games.
Hardalias said 315 people were taken to safety by firefighters or police during the evacuation after running into difficulties.
People in the suburbs of Acharnes, Lykovrisi, Kato Kifissia and Metamorfosi are also being advised to shut their windows and chimneys to prevent smoke and ash from getting into their homes.