A huge environmental disaster in the island of Evia, where a large wildfire was raging over a front stretching up to 12 kilometers, with the country’s civil protection authority declaring a state of emergency.
The fire was out of control late last night near the villages of Makrymalli, Kontodespoti, Platania and Stavros, which were evacuated, as was a monastery. The blaze also destroyed one of Greece’s 19 Natura 2000 nature reserves.
The region’s roughly 500 residents had already been evacuated by noon Tuesday, some on police buses and others using their own vehicles.
According to the fire service, there were no reports of serious damage to homes up until late Tuesday. However, firefighters were expected to work through the night to keep flames away from homes, mainly in Makrymalli.
More than 220 firefighters battled the blaze along with at least 75 fire engines, including truck-mounted water tanks, as well as six water-dropping planes, six helicopters, volunteers and soldiers.
Greece called on the European civil protection organization for assistance while Prime Minister visits the fire department’s main coordination center, said four firefighting planes were being sent from Croatia and Italy.
Powerful winds helped the fire spread quickly through dense pine forest. Bur last night the winds had weakened and the spread of the fire had slowed.