Fire razes forestland on island of Zakynthos

Fire razes forestland on island of Zakynthos

A fire that started on Tuesday night had razed hundreds of hectares of forestland in the mountains on the northern end of the Ionian island of Zakynthos by Wednesday morning, the fire service said.

Firefighters battled the blaze in tinder-dry conditions, against high temperatures and strong winds, all night and were finally able to bring it under control on Wednesday morning, though not before it wreaked significant damage to a part of the island that is an important ecosystem and also very popular with tourists.

Initial estimates put the damaged forestland at more than 300 hectares, but there were no reports of injuries or destruction of property by Wednesday morning.

However, the thick smoke that covered many parts of the island caused dozens of residents and visitors to seek medical assistance after experiencing breathing difficulties.

Local authorities have set up a control center at the former city hall of Alykes to coordinate fire teams coming in from other parts of Greece to help, medical units and rescue crews.

Crews are also busy repairing damaged power lines supplying the villages of Orthonies and Maries, which were left without electricity on Tuesday night. 

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