Greece’s Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias announced on Monday emergency measures, including a ban on access to forests and city wood areas in efforts to bring under control more than 53 fires across Greece, which broke out in the last 24-hour period.
On the same day, fueled by strong winds, fires broke out on Evia island the northern half of which nearly burnt to the ground in 2021; Rodopi, Viotia, where a shepherd was found dead and a campground evacuated on Monday; Rodopi, Lefkimmi, where another person was found dead; Kavala, Komotini; and today (Tuesday) at Aspropyrgos, an industrial zone outside Athens, and at Fyli near Parnitha at around noon when a 112 evacuation notice was issued.
“The last 48 hours, and unfortunately the next 48 hours, are proving to be extremely critical with gusty winds and high temperatures creating widespread fire fronts as outbreaks cannot be easily brought under control,” admitted Kikilias.
He went on to add that 53 wildfires broke out over the night, 14 of which in the Evros region alone.
The measures decided during the cabinet meeting include:
– banning access to mountainous areas, forests and woodlands in Attica, Viotia, Evia, Kavala and Thessaloniki until Wednesday at 8am (subject to change).
– boosting patrols in all the above areas and in areas with high risk of fire
– banning all outdoor activity by citizens that could cause a fire hazard
– implementation of 112 evacuation procedures.
Meanwhile, according to Greece’s weather service, the smoke has spread to an area of over 110,000m2 as gale force winds and high temperatures are expected to continue into the day.
According to Tuesday’s Fire Risk Map released by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, three prefectures in Greece are at extreme risk (category 5) of fire: Attica, which includes the wider Athens area, Central Greece (Viotia, Evia and Fthiotida), and the Peloponnese (Argolida and Corinthia).