Residents of Nea Makri, East Attica, woke up from the sound of church bells in the middle of the night. A wild fire had broken out near the houses of the settlement of Lyvisi short after 2 o’ clock in the morning. A few locals were evacuated when the blaze dangerously came close to residences.
Winds blowing with intensity of over 4 Beaufort. The winds quickly directed the fire from the houses to the nearby forest.
A second fire was recorded in the nearby area of Agia Marina, some 100-150 meter away from the one in Lyvisi.
More than 138 firefighters with 44 fire trucks fought all through the night to take the fire under control. Aerial means were set in operation with the first morning light.
By early afternoon Thursday, the blaze in the thick forest of Lyvisi is weakening, however, the winds have been strengthened and are not expected to weaken before the evening.
While there is currently no active fire front, firefighters and aerial means remain on alert due to the high risk of the blaze revival due to the winds.
Residents and local authorities suspect arson as the cause of the fire, especially given the time it broke out, at 02:17 a.m. The second fire front started a couple of minutes later in Agia Marina.
“It is the second fire within 3 days and in the same area,” stated Civil Protection General Secretary, Nikos Hardalias.
The fire on Thursday is the seventh in the broader area in the last 9 days.
Some locals said they saw two people on a motorcycle in the area as well as a vehicle with several people insideshort before the fire broke out.
“There are arson indications, locals denounce suspect movements by some people,” the new Attica Governor Giorgos Patoulis told media.
<112> Emergency number
“It was the police that woke us up, we were sleeping,” a local told media and another pointed out that the church bells rang.
The <112 > Emergency Number that it is supposed to alert people of upcoming disasters did not operate.
The General Secretary for Civil Protection, Nikos Hardalias, justified the failure to inform the locals of Nea Marki that the fire was near their homes, saying “112 did not work in order to avoid disturbance.”
High risk of Wild fires
The Greek Civil Protection has warned of high risk of forest and wild fires for Thursday and Friday, September 5-6, 2019.
Warning September 5
At risk are the regions of Attica, Viotia, Evia, Skyros, Sporades islands, Halkidiki, Evros, Thassos, islands of North Aegean Sea, Kythera, Lakonia, Argolida and Corinth.
Warning September 6
At high risk of fires are: Attica, South Evia, Evros, Samothraki, Limnos, Lesvos and Chios.
In the last 24 hours, the Greek Fire Service had to intervene in 60 forest fires across the country.
PS if authorities do not use the Emergency disaster number to ‘avoid disturbance’ then what’s the purpose of it?