Greece tames wildfires in Athens, Megara as Salamina front continues to rage

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A wildfire that raged near the Greek city of Megara, some 40km west of Athens, “looked better,” the Greek Fire Service said on Wednesday night.

One fire front remained on the island of Salamina, a 15 minute ferry trip from the capital.

In Megara, the fire seems to have been restricted to the western part of the area of Zachouli, while a second, smaller fire front is active near the area of Pefkenea.

A firefighting aircraft drops water over a wildfire near Megara town, west of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, July 20, 2022. Photo: AP Photo / Petros Giannakouris.

In Salamina, firefighters managed to contain the blazes in Anemomyli and Samari and were now focusing on the front on Patris hill.

Fire authorities have already ordered the evacuation of at least four settlements in both regions. 

Meanwhile, a large wildfire in Mount Parnitha, north of Athens, that forced hundreds of people to flee and damaged property has been brought under control.

The wildfire broke out on Tuesday and, fanned by gale-force winds, spread quickly to nearby urban districts – including Penteli and Anthousa – with a total population of about 90,000.

Penteli Wildfire. Photo: Stavros Papakonstantinidis / Twitter.

Authorities have been investigating the cause of the fire.

Speaking outside of the Crises Management Coordination Centre of the Greek Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection in Athens, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis praised fire authorities for their “quick and timely” response to the Penteli wildfire.

“I believe that all authorities did their best with a very quick and timely presence, with a great mobilisation of the state apparatus and above all, with a much better coordination compared to what we had seen in the past. We will proceed with this sense of logic from now on,” Mitsotakis said.

The Prime Minister also assured people affected by the fires “that the state will be on their side at great speed and with great efficiency.”

“It seems that the damage is limited and of course, the state apparatus will speedily rehabilitate our fellow citizens, those who lost their homes or those who suffered damages,” Mitsotakis said.

These wildfires in Greece came as fires were also burning across southern Europe on Wednesday, but authorities in France, Spain and Portugal all reported improved conditions with a respite from the severe heat.

READ MORE: Two dead after firefighting helicopter crashes off Greek island of Samos.

Source: Ekathimerini.

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