A huge wildfire has been burning down the forest of Strofilia, an amazing natural reserve under protection of Natura 2000 and the Ramsar Convention.
The fire broke out early Tuesday afternoon the area area by Kounoupeli, Ilia, in West Peloponnese.
The Fire Service speaks of a “dangerous wildfire due to the strong winds blowing in the area.”
By early evening, 50 firefighters with 20 fire trucks from the prefectures of Ilia and Achaia were struggling to extinguish the fire before the amazing natural park is burned down.
Regional governor Apostolos Katsifaras told state news agency amna “it is one of the biggest wildfires in the area burning a rare ecosystem within a protected area.”
He pointed out that aerial means are needed because without their help the fire cannot be dealt with, given the difficult weather conditions.
One Canadair that attempted to reach the area had to return.
Local media ilialive reported late at night that 2,000 acres of forest have been already burned down. Firefighters continue the struggle against the blaze, however, the wind intensified and the wildfire revived.
UPDATE Wednesday morning, local authorities told ERT TV that the fire was largely under control with firefighters to have been struggling all night. By first morning light two Canadair aircraft joined the operation. According to estimations, some 300 acres were burned down.
The forest of Strofilia is a national park of 22,000 sq km and has grown on a tiny peninsula, separating Lake Prokopos from the Ionian Sea by a thin strip of pine trees.
The forested area and the adjacent Kotychi Lagoon have created a fascinating mosaic of seaside natural habitats. Through time, sand dunes along the coast, sculptured by the waves and the sea currents, have formed Prokopos Lake, Kotychi Lagoon and the Strofylia Forest, creating an exquisite natural environment.
This unique ecosystem of great beauty is the perfect example of pristine Greek nature: a pine forest next to the sand and the deep blue sea. The woods teem with flora, mostly pine and shrub species providing shelter to a bustling wildlife population that includes tortoises and turtles, foxes, hedgehogs, jackals, otters, birds such as owls, and waterfowl such as coots and kingfishers.