As daylight ebbed on Tuesday, firefighters were battling a significant resurgence of the blaze in Vilia, western Attica, stretching from Mount Patera to Mandra.
The effort included hundreds of firefighters, including a Polish contingent, backed by 24 aircraft – including Beriev Be-200s, Canadairs, helicopters, as well as Ilyushins.
The resurgence followed optimism on Tuesday morning and at noon that the fire which began on Monday afternoon could be finally brought under control by the afternoon. On Monday night, and in the absence of aircraft, the fire had engulfed the area of Agios Georgios.
“Until 3 a.m. when we laid down to rest, the wind was blowing toward Vilia, but we suddenly woke up and it was in our houses,” said Thanasis T., who saved his house with the help of his son but failed to save the property next door that was destroyed.
A total of four settlements and a nursing home in the wider area were evacuated. The nursing home residents were transported to the Agia Varvara Hospital in western Attica. Two of the residents who tested positive for the coronavirus were taken to the Thriasio Hospital.
Indicative of the optimism that the fire would begin to recede on Tuesday morning was the return of some residents who had left their homes in the area of Agios Georgios shortly before the afternoon resurgence on Mount Pateras.
Mayor of Mandra Christos Stathis told Kathimerini that there are “solid indications” that the fire was set by arsonists.
“Gas canisters were found, the wind was easterly – it directed the fire toward Porto Germeno – and a large fire had broken out on the other side of Attica, in Keratea, in the previous hours,” he said.
Stathis also told Kathimerini that apart from the Poles, Greek firefighters also entered the fray, while significant help was provided by local volunteers from the Patera Voluntary Association and from Vilia, who opened fire protection zone with their own chainsaws.