Several major fires are burning across Greece and the heatwave that started Saturday has increased the dangers of new ones.
During the 24-hour period to Saturday afternoon, 53 wildfires began.
The most extensive, and dangerous, fire is the one at the Dadia national forest, in the region of Thrace, near the border with Turkey, which began Thursday.
The Fire Service is also battling fires at the resort of Vatera, on the southern side of the island of Lesvos, in southwestern Peloponnese and in a remote mountain area in the region of Western Macedonia, near the town of Grevena.
Another fire, near the northwestern town of Preveza, in the Epirus region, was partly contained Saturday afternoon, after coming very close to houses in an area village.
Firefighters are focusing on facing the village of Dadia, but the national forest itself, which hosts several rare bird species, mainly vulture, is under threat.
“The most important thing for us is the safety of the villagers and all forces will be employed there,” Dimitris Petrovits, the governor of the regional unit of Evros told state news agency AMNA.
The sudden shifts in the direction of the wind keep creating new blaze fronts, of which there are now five, Petrovits said.
The fire has already gone past the raptor birds observatory and is closing on on the buildings of the Protected Area Management Unit.
Petrovits said that collecting and treating injured animals is also a very high priority for authorities.
The Ministry of Environment and Energy, along with several NGOs, are going to create an emergency station for the treatment of wildlife. The World Wide Fund of Nature (WWF) and volunteer veterinarians are already treating animals brought in by firefighters and civilian volunteers battling the blaze.
The 320 firefighters in 68 fire engines fighting the fire have been augmented by civilian volunteers, army units and local authorities’ water-carrying vehicles. During the day, ten firefighting planes and seven helicopters joined the efforts and are expected to resume at dawn sunday.
On Lesvos, the fire reached the beach of Vatera and a second front is moving toward the village of Vrissa, authorities say.
At Vatera, firefighters report that several houses and businesses have caught fire. Another report said three houses and two warehouses have been damaged.
A third front is burning through a forested area toward the village of Stavros, which was not under threat Saturday night.
A total of 81 firefighters in 20 fire engines operate in the area, augmente, as in Evros, by civilian volunteers, army units, and water tankers.
Police reported Saturday afternoon that they had helped evacuate over 450 people from two hotels and 92 houses.
State TV ERT reported Sunday night that the village of Chryssokelaria, in southwestern Peloponnese, has been evacuated and old and infirm citizens taken to a nearby village.
The fire there is burning in a remote mountain area near the evacuated village but has spilled over to the plain below, burning crops.
Fighting that fire are 115 firefighters, 20 fire engines and, during the day, four planes and two helicopters.
In Western Macedonia, the fire has been burning since Wednesday and is threatening the Valia Calda National Forest.