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UPD Fire in East Athens: Residents evacuated, houses burned (videos)

Residents in the area of Drafi, Dioni and Dimaki in the outskirts of Athens, at the foothills of Mt. Penteli in the East of the Greek capital, were ordered to evacuate towards the area of Pallini, late Tuesday afternoon after a fire burning low vegetation and forest went out of control due to powerful winds. Evacuated is also the National Observatory of Athens.

The fire front extends to over 15 kilometers.

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The fire broke out around in the area of Daou in Penteli at 5 o’ clock Tuesday afternoon.

Strong firefighting forces rushed to the area to contain the blaze at the beginning but without success as storng winds are blowing with intensity of 7 Beaufort.

There currently two fire fronts and the blaze is burning its way towards Drafi and Anthousa.

According to latest media reports, also Anthousa is ordered to evacuate towatds Gerakas.

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State broadcaster ERT has displayed footage showing the flames nearing some homes that are shattered in the area.

There also reports at 8:30 p.m. that some houses in Drafi have been burned down, however, these reports are not officially confirmed, so far.

Over 78 firefighters with 22 fire engines, 5 ground teams, alongside 28 Romanian firefighters with 3 water tanks, are assisted by 11 water-dropping aircraft and 5 helicopters are battling the fire.

However, the aerial means will stop flying by the last day light short before 9 o’ clock in the evening.

Residents in the areas of Penteli and Nea Penteli, Daou, Dioni and Kallitechnioupoli have all received a text alert by the emergency number 112, warning them to be on stand-by for any further instructions by the civil protection and the fire brigade.

The fire seen from suburb of Dafni:

Traffic on several roads has been closed off by the police; here a list of roads closed Tuesday evening:

– Nea Penteli to Nea Makri orbital road, from 414 SNEN military hospital to Agios Petros

– Kalission Road and Papadiamanti towards Drafi

– Doukissis Plakentias and Filonos roads towards Drafi

– Anapafseos and Klisthenous roads towards Penteli

Animal welfare organizations and volunteers are rushing to the area on fire to help pets and wildlife but also humans in need without vehicles.

They call on pet owners to not leave specially their dogs chained behind.

If you find a wildlife animals, welfare society ANIMA is in charge:

Hospitals in Athens are on alert to treat people with injuries and respiratory problems, while there are reports that also the Children’s hospital in Penteli will be evacuated.

UPDATE 11 p.m.

An unearthly picture: The Acropolis and Lycabetus Hill, the landmarks of Athens with the huge fire in the background

The blaze is raging also at night, with one fire front reportedly heading to the village of Palini.

There are reports that at least two houses in Drafi have been burned down, while the flames have reached many yards.

Picture below: The fire on Mt Penteli as seen from the district of Ambelokipi in downtown Athens.

The fire seen from Gerakas village

The fire reportedly broke out in an area what was completely burned down in the fire of 2018 and was reforestated.

The fire fighting forces are constantly being strengthened. According to Fire Service currently there are in operation:

420 firefighters
18 groups of pedestrian units
85 fire trucks
28 Romanian firefighters with their vehicles have been deployed in the wider mountainous area

Also:
-Water trucks and machinery
-Volunteer forces of the Fire Brigades and the Civil Protection

-22 Army officers provided by the National Defense Ministry

282 police officers and 90 vehicles provided by Greek Police for the safe passage of residents during evacuations.

Police vehicles are patrolling in evacuated areas for potential looters, check drivers and passengers of cars appearing “suspect”, ERT reported.

Hospitals on emergency duty and the ambulance Service is on high alert. So far, no locals with respiratory problems have sought hospitals in Greek capital.

35 children from the Children’s Facility in Daou and 36 from the Children’s Hospital in Penteli have been evacuated and transferred to the hospitals “Aglaia Kyriakou” and “Agia Sophia”.

Water-dropping aerial means are at maximum readiness so that they can operate at the first light of day.

The Port authority of Rafina has urged locals and tourists to refrain from activities in the sea in Nea Makri, Shoinias and Marathonas on Wednesday, as the aerial means will load water to combat the fire.

Winds keep blowing with intensity of 6 Beaufort and gusts reaching 8 B. The winds may weaken during the night but will strengthen again by Wednesday noon. It should be recalled that Attica is at “very high risk” of fire (Level 4) also on Wednesday, July 20.

It is the Xth big fire in Greece in the last few days.

To be continued…

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6 comments

  1. send in the rafale fighter jets….

  2. Terrible pictures ! This poor world, what next? In passing what is a UPD fire…I only know of a file extension with that name.

  3. The same disaster summer after summer. I spend my time in the nature monitoring the wildlife to assess the situation. There are some ways to prevent, control, or at least reduce the extent of the threat in Greece:
    -Management: Treat the landscape ahead of time (winter early spring) to create fire resilient ecosystems by reducing fuel accumulations available.
    -Avoid high risk activities (industry, smoking, fire crackers, littering…). I have seen people doing their own fireworks in the summer and many throw their cigarettes and glass bottles by the window of their cars while driving which is totally irresponsible and indeed criminal, but they are never held accountable for the destruction that occur. We need to educate, and it starts by the younger generations.
    -Community monitoring and vigilance. Police can’t be everywhere and it’s not their job anyway, the communities need to be organized to prevent any fire and report any start of fire in real time. Why does everyone have a smartphone now, if it isn’t for using in a positive way?
    -Stop the extension of urban areas in rural areas! Though strictly forbidden by the Greek Constitution, too many individuals continue to build in forest areas, claiming the lands for themselves, with all the associated risks.
    -Tree planting, reforest the land to avoid erosion. There doesn’t seem to be a real effort on this one at the national level.

    Keep in mind that the animals are the first victims of wildfires.

    Please take the time to read Europe’s Land-based wildfire prevention,Principles and experiences on managing landscapes, forests and woodlands for safety and resilience in Europe, March 2021.