Flood barriers go up in burnt areas

Just hours before heavy rain fell across Attica yesterday, Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias visited some of the sites that were razed by last month’s devastating wildfires northeast of Athens to inspect the anti-flood works taking place there. During his visit, the minister also revealed the true extent of the damage done by the blaze, which tore through 18,300 hectares of land, much of which was forested, or at least wooded. Some areas were almost completely destroyed by the fire. For instance, some 72 percent of the Marathon basin was scorched in August. But Souflias was principally there to check on the progress of work to prevent soil erosion from the charred areas and the creation of flood barriers. He said that the work to stop soil being washed away is due to be completed by the end of the month. About 240 specialist forest workers have been working on this project. They began work at the beginning of this month and have already constructed some 180 kilometers of natural barriers using felled tree trunks and branches. The anti-flood work, which will include clearing debris and refuse from streambeds and ravines, is expected to take another month. This project has been split into seven sites: Aghia Triada, Oinoi, Sesi, Spartorema, Aghios Stefanos, Nea Makri and Rafina. Souflias also told journalists that older forests would be allowed to regenerate naturally, whereas areas where the trees are much younger, because they have been replanted following fires in the past, will be replanted once again.