As the fire fronts in Evia continued to rage overnight, the aim of the firefighters and helicopters, among which is one of the two Italian aircraft that has already arrived in Greece – the second one expected after 11:30 am, is to limit the catastrophic fire with its huge 11km front to Central Evia.
Authorities are trying to take full advantage of the winds subsiding before, as the Meteorologist reports forecast, winds pick up again during the afternoon.
Later in the day, the two Spanish aircraft are expected to arrive in Greece to fill the gap created after Croatia’s involvement with the aircraft.
Six aircraft and 5 helicopters have been taking off since 6 in the morning and releasing water over the fires, while another a helicopter is coordinating the actions from the air.
A total of 18 earth-moving machines, water trucks and heavy machines from regional authorities and private Larco’s plant arrived in the central-west town of Psahna, southwest of the fire to prepare the erection of a fire barrier.
Although the high-velocity winds have subsided, dense smoke hampered the use of water-dousing aircraft.
In all, the residents of four villages were evacuated to Psahna during Tuesday: Makrymalli, Kondodespoti, Stavros and Platania. According to reports, damages have occurred in Makrymalli, where houses burned down.
The area that includes the four villages near Psahna has been declared under a national emergency. European Commissioner for Humanitarian Help and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said, “We are mobilizing the rescEU assets to respond to Greece activation of the European Civil Protection Mechanism. The EU stands by Greece at this difficult time.”
The blaze is being fought by 227 firefighters with 75 fire engines, 7 units on foot, and 6 aircraft and 6 helicopters, joined by a coordinating mobile unit. In addition, forces include two units of the army, volunteers, eight machines and ten water-dispensing vehicles.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis and Fire Brigade chief Vassilis Mattheopoulos met at the Fire Brigade’s coordination centre in Halandri, along with the national defence minister and leaders.
Mitsotakis was briefed on developments in fighting the fire, which has destroyed homes in one of the four villages but has not claimed any victims.
“The state’s first and foremost concern is to protect human lives,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during his briefing.