Help sought for exhausted firefighters

Help sought for exhausted firefighters

As the devastating wildfire in Vilia, western Attica, raged for a fourth day on Thursday, burning thousands of hectares of pine forest, the government sought help from abroad to replace its ground firefighting teams, which are on the brink of exhaustion.

Firefighter have been battling massive wildfires for about three weeks around the country since August 3.

Greek firefighters have had to work long shifts in high temperatures and with little sleep for days, assisted by foreign teams that arrived to help with the blazes in Evia, around Athens and in the Peloponnese.

As part of the relief, the government has agreed with Poland to retain the firefighters who arrived in Greece on August 9, and has been in contact with other countries for additional ground team assistance.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday thanked his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, for the constant support in firefighting efforts, announcing that the visiting firefighters will remain in Greece for another two weeks.

“The Polish firefighters are doing an amazing job on the ground and we are glad to have them by our side,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, all available means were participating in the firefighting operation to contain the fire in Vilia, including 10 aircraft, 19 helicopters, 420 firefighters and 149 vehicles.

Authorities said the danger to the settlements was beginning to subside, except for the southern front of the fire, which passed over Mount Pateras in the direction of Kantili, western Attica.

All forces – ground and air – were concentrated there to prevent the fire from spreading onto the Megara plain.

However, there was optimism that the fire would be contained as the north-northeasterly winds of 2-3 Beaufort in the area were directing the flames toward a rocky and vegetation-free area, making it easier to deal with.

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