Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chryssochoidis defended the response of firefighting forces on the fires in Villia and Lavreotiki, the east Attica region that includes Sounio, during a live brieifing on Tuesday evening, saying it was “immediate.”
The minister said the Beriev-200 water-dropping plane from Russia was not used from the start in the fire fighting operations because it was on scheduled maintenance.
“The specific aircraft had completed 50 hours of flight and was on scheduled maintenance since August 13 and 06:08, and this maintenance check became even stricter because of an accident in Turkey involving a similar aircraft,” he said.
At Villia, western Attica, firefighters dealt with multiple rekindlings on Tuesday, he said, while the one in Lavreotiki has been “delimited,” but has pockets of fire within its perimeter.
“In regard to support by air in the two fires yesterday, we would like to inform you that there were 19 airplanes and helicopters at Lavrio, and 21 in Villia.”
A total of 50 new fires broke out in Greece on Tuesday, and added to those already burning, firefighters had to deal with a total of 98 wildfires.
The firefighting forces will remain at Lavreotiki overnight, he said, while in Villia things looked better, with small active fronts within ithe fire’s perimeter. Polish firefighters and the army is assisting the large forces there, he added, including the mobile operations center ‘Olympos’.
Both fires are being coordinated by Fire Brigade Chief Stefanos Kolokouris, while all forces will remain on guard overnight.
He said that the dry weather conditions and high temperatures will continue over the next few days and everyone should be on alert over the risk of fire.