Large wildfire rages north of Athens, settlement evacuated

Large wildfire rages north of Athens, settlement evacuated

A large wildfire broke out on the slopes of Mount Penteli, just north of Athens, on Tuesday afternoon, forcing the residents of a semi-mountainous settlement to evacuate to avoid the fast-moving flames.

The blaze, burning through low vegetation, quickly split in two fronts, one moving towards the mountain and a second heading towards the settlements of Drafi and Nea Penteli. On late afternoon, the flames were 500 meters away from Drafi.

Residents of Daou Penteli were told to evacuate towards nearby Pallini on Tuesday afternoon, while people in Penteli, Nea Penteli, Drafi, Dioni and Kallitechnioupoli received a text alert by the emergency number 112, warning them to be on standby for any further instructions by the civil protection and the fire brigade.

George Papavasileiou, a researcher at the National Observatory of Athens’ Penteli branch announced on his Facebook that the staff was leaving the premises as the “forest fire was out of control.”

Efforts by 105-strong firefighting force – including 28 Romanian firefighters – 11 water bombers and five helicopters was hampered by gale-force winds that fanned the blaze. 

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