Settlements in Penteli, north of Athens, including two children’s hospitals, were evacuated after a large wildfire broke out on Tuesday and split up into many different fronts as it spread to residential areas and in some instances reached the yards of homes.
Water-dumping aircraft stopped operating after 9 p.m. due to a lack of visibility, while as Kathimerini went to print no ambulance service had received calls for help to deal with injuries or breathing problems.
The wildfire continued to rage uncontrollably, fanned by strong winds which were expected to settle during the night.
Thirty-six children were evacuated from the Penteli Children’s Hospital and immediately transferred to Agia Sophia Hospital. An evacuation operation at the a public psychiatric facility for children in Daou was also completed successfully, with 35 patients being transferred to Mitera Hospital.
An emergency 112 alert message was sent to the residents of Anthousa, Daou, Nea Penteli, Drafi, Dioni and Kallitechnioupoli and Dasamari.
According to the spokesman of the Fire Service, Yannis Arotopios, the forces operating in the area included 420 firefighters, 18 units on foot and 85 vehicles, including water trucks. The operations were backed by 28 Romanian firefighters.
Before aerial operations stopped for the night, 15 aircraft and nine helicopters had been deployed. The suspension of operations was making the effort to control the fire considerably harder, given the prevailing winds.
Some 280 police officers were at the front of the fire to guard houses and assist evacuation operations, while another 80 police officers were on patrol in areas where there was a fire threat to residential areas.
Meanwhile, the Special Secretariat for the Protection of Companion Animals issued an appeal to residents not to abandon their pets, leaving them helpless, tied up or trapped.
A crisis management mechanism was activated by the Dogs’ Voice organization in cooperation with EDKE (Voluntary Action of Veterinarians of Greece) to offer support.
A veterinary station was created by Dogs’ Voice and EDKE at the Pallini Veterinary Clinic to deliver first aid to fire-affected animals.