A forest fire on the island of Thassos is out of control on Thursday morning despite the strengthening of the fire fighting forces and the aerial means. One village has been ordered to evacuate. Two volunteers were injured.
The fire broke out in a dense pine forest and in difficult to access area on the mountain in Lefki, over Skala Potamias and near the summer camps of Potamia, around 8 o’clock late on Wednesday evening.
It quickly went out of control as fire service forces on the island are limited with few resources, including enough water, as local media reported citing people involved in the fire fighting.
At 06:25 in the morning, an order was given for a precautionary evacuation of the village Koinira, even thought there was no immediate danger.
Late at night, two volunteers were injured while trying to create zones in the forest area where the fire is raging. They were cutting trees, some trees fell and the volunteers were crushed by branches.
They were taken to the island’s Health Center where they received First Aid.
A total of 102 firefighters, 5 teams of firefighters on foot, 33 engine trucks are operating in the area.
Some 70 firefighters with 20 fire trucks from central and eastern Macedonia were deployed to the island and traveled from Kavala to Thassos over night.
At the same time, aerial firefighting means, that is 7 aircraft and 5 helicopters, have been mobilized, and have been dropping water since the first light of the day.
The battle against the blaze is supported by volunteer firefighters, water tanks of the Greek Army and machinery from municipalities.
Speaking to state broadcaster ERT short before 12 o’ clock noon, the deputy major of Thassos said that firefighting forces managed to largely limit the blaze, but the battle continues due to rekindles.
The strong winds that were blowing all night have weakened.
According to local media kavalanews.gr, there are strong indications of arson, as another fire broke out in the area on August 2.
UPDATE 2:30 p.m.
The blaze has been divided into two fronts with one of them moving towards Skala and the other one to have weakened.
According to Skai TV, firefighters have no access to the second front as there are no anti-fire zones in the dense forest.
“The firefighters have to wait for the blaze to come near to them,” the Skai reporter said characteristically.
The burning area on Thassos as captured by NASA satellites.
UPDATE Saturday, August 13
Despite the fact that the blaze was largely contained on Friday, it rekindled at night.
The rekindle was located at the begin of the ravine, above the northern entrance of the village Potamia, causing concern among the residents and the visitors.
185 firefighters with 38 engine trucks, 15 teams on foot as well as 7 water-dropping aircraft and 11 helicopters are currently struggle against the fire.
According to local media kavalanews.gr, the fire is again out of control at Saturday noon, and firefighting forces hope to manage it before the winds intensify again later on the day.
UPDATE Sunday, August 14
Firefighting forces managed to contain on Sunday the fire at Skala Potamias, state-run news agency amna reported early afternoon.
The fire was eventually set under control after the rekindling late on Friday.