© Reuters. Burnt trees are seen in a charred area following a forest fire in Kouvaras, near Athens, Greece, July 18, 2023. REUTERS/Stelios Misinas
ATHENS (Reuters) – A wildfire intensified overnight and swept through forests north of Athens for a second day on Tuesday, authorities said, as firefighters managed to contain other blazes in southeast and west of the Greek capital.
A fire raged through the uncontrolled and scorched forest in the Dervenochoria area about 30 km north of Athens, a fire official said on Tuesday. The fire threatened a pig farm, according to Greek media.
Another blaze weakened on Tuesday, having first broken out on Monday in the village of Kouvaras, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) southeast of the Greek capital. Fanned by shifting winds, this fire quickly spread to the coastal towns of Anavyssos, Lagonisi and Saronida, forcing people to flee their homes.
However, 230 firefighters assisted by 76 fire trucks and five helicopters were still operating at different locations in the region, a Greek fire department official said on Tuesday.
“Civil protection forces fought all night long,” Ioannis Artopoios, a spokesman for the Greek fire service, told a televised briefing, adding that crews had been replaced to tame the fire on multiple fronts.
A mayor told Greek television that more than 7,000 acres of land had been burned to the ground along a coast, where many Athenians have vacation homes.
A thick blanket of white smoke was visible from Athens as a third fire burned near the resort town of Loutraki, around 80km west of the capital.
Greece’s meteorological service has warned of a high fire risk this week as the country recovers from the first major heatwave of the summer. A second heat wave is expected later this week.
Greece still has memories of a wildfire in 2018, when a blaze killed 101 people in the seaside town of Mati, east of Athens.