Settlements evacuated as wildfires continue to rage near Athens

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As the wildfire in Dervenochoria northwest of Athens continued to rage for a second consecutive day, Greek fire authorities ordered the evacuation of several settlements.

Panorama, Pournari, Paleochori, and Aghiα Sotira were all been instructed to evacuate as a safety measure on Tuesday.

In response to the escalating situation, the police also closed exits 1 and 2 of the Attiki Odos highway, leading to the towns of Mandra and Magoula respectively.

The wildfire initially broke out on Monday afternoon at Panaktos in Boeotia, within the Dervenochoria region, and has proven to be challenging to contain.

Residents in Mandra are being urged to evacuate.

The fire brigade has deployed a significant number of resources to combat the blaze, including five firefighting aircraft, five water-dropping helicopters, 48 fire engines with 140 firefighters, and five ground units.

The fire in Dervenochoria poses additional difficulties as it burns through a virgin forest located in an inaccessible area. The situation is further exacerbated by strong winds that are prevalent in the region, hindering firefighting efforts.

In a separate development, the Greek Fire Brigade has recommended the precautionary evacuation of the settlements Aghios Charalambos and Panorama in relation to the wildfire in Loutraki. The fire front is currently advancing over the Kallithea location and moving in a south-southeast direction, crossing the Athens-Corinth national highway.

A firefighter facing a wildfire in Loutraki, Greece. Photograph: Vasilis Psomas/EPA.

In response to these fires, the European Union has pledged additional assistance, with Italy and France each sending two firefighting planes to help Greece cope. The planes and their teams are part of an EU civil protection mechanism, and they will join some 30 Romanian firefighters already stationed in Greece as part of a seasonal EU fire program.

Greece also activated a rapid mapping evaluation system, which uses EU satellite data to assess fire damage.

A second heatwave is expected on Thursday, with temperatures as high as 44 degrees Celsius expected in central and southern parts of the country by the end of the week.

Source: Ekathimerini and AP News.

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