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Evia Forest Fire out of control: 4 villages evacuated, state of emergency

The forest fire in Evia went out of control on Tuesday noon due to strong winds blowing with intensity 5 and 6 Beaufort thus changing the direction of the blaze. Dramatic hours for locals who have to evacuate their villages.

Very thick smog covers the broader area creating a suffocating atmosphere.

The sky has turned red due to flames reaching a height of up to 25 meters.

Media report that the fire front extends to over 5 kilometers.

One volunteer firefighter suffered burning injuries in the hands and was transferred to local hospital.

Several locals but also firefighters have sought health centers in need of oxygen.

The villages of Kontodespoti, Makrymalli, Stavors and Platana were evacuated and locals were transferred to the biggest village of the area, Psachna. Members of the Greek Air Force and other Armed Forces have been assigned with the evacuation of the area.

Some elderly shed bitter tears having to leave behind his home.

Evacuation of Kontodespoti was essential as the flames reached the first houses, thus burning yards.

There are reports that locals who are mostly farmers and breeders have set animals free in order to save them from the coming flames.

One TV channel reported of the rescue of a dog with 9 puppies.

Fire Serive spokesman, V. Vathrakogiannis said in the afternoon that nine aerial means were operating as the fire area is difficult to access.

“Visibility for aerial mean is low due to the thick smog,” the spokesman said adding “winds are not so intense as in the morning, however, the gusts change the direction of the fire much to often.”

More than 280 firefighter and over 70 trucks are operating in the area and at least 9 aerial means. The latter can operate only with daylight.

The fire tarted at 3:15 a.m. on Tuesday. Local authorities suspect arson, the Fire Service investigates.

The area of Evia forest fire is the Narrow Forest of Dirfy, a natural reserve under the protection of NATURA 2000. There are no anti-fire zones in the thick forest area.

The Greek Civil Protection submitted a request for aid at the EU Civil Protection Organization. The first countries responded to send aerial means are Croatia and Italy.

State of Emergency has been declared for the Municipality of Dirfys.

As the thick smoke reached Athens and Attica, the Greek Prevention Center issued a list of advises for vulnerable people.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis broke his vacations and returned to Athens Tuesday afternoon due to the fire.

Tuesday afternoon, three new fires broke out in Kastaniotissa, Istiaia in the North of Evia. State broadcaster ERT TV suggested it is maybe a plan to distract and divide the fire fighting forces.

PS As if we don’t have enough to deal with, we now have also conspiracy theories….

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