By YEET MAGAZINE  ,  August 7, 2021   6:15 PM

ATHENS, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Flames swept through a town near Athens overnight and hundreds of people were evacuated by ferry from the island of Evia as wildfires burned across Greece for a fifth day on Saturday.

A man died in the fires that ravaged several areas of Greece and thousands of residents fled on Friday to seek shelter from a forest fire north of Athens. Firefighters are engaged in a battle to keep the flames from reaching populated areas, electrical installations and historic sites.

In Greece, the firefighters, who were to be reinforced on Friday 6 August in the morning by French firefighters, fought all night a violent fire 30 km north of Athens, where five people were injured, five localities evacuated and several houses burnt down, according to the authorities.

A first death caused by the fires was announced by the Attica General Hospital (KAT), located in the northern suburbs of Athens. This is a 38-year-old man killed by the fall of an electricity pylon on the outskirts of the capital.

On Friday, the Greek capital woke up again to a pungent smell and fumes from the fire, which resumed Thursday afternoon at the foot of Mount Parnes, after having burned more than 1,200 hectares since Tuesday.

"Our country is facing an extremely critical situation," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Thursday evening, in the face of dozens of fires that have consumed Greece for a week, under the effect of scorching temperatures. "We are facing unprecedented conditions as several days of heatwave have turned the whole country into a powder keg," he added in a televised address.

According to the Deputy Minister of Civil Protection, Nikos Hardalias, 57 of the 99 fires counted on Thursday were still active in the evening, in particular on the island of Evia and in the Peloponnese, in the west and east of the country, where the situation remained worrying Friday morning.

On the island of Evia, "the biggest disaster for fifty years"

The island's deputy governor, George Kelaiditis, spoke of "the biggest disaster in Euboea in fifty years", with hundreds of houses damaged, thousands of hectares of forest destroyed by the flames and more than 630 people rescued since Thursday evening on three beaches.

It was in the village of Afidnes 30 km north of Athens that the flames fanned by the wind were the most virulent, noted in the night a photographer and a videographer from AFP.

"More than 150 fires ravage the country"

A firefighter and five residents suffered minor burns and were hospitalized Thursday evening, according to the Greek news agency ANA. The motorway connecting Athens to the north of the country as well as the national road have been cut as a precaution.

Assistance from several countries to fight fires

At least 450 Greek firefighters intervened in this incident, helped by air resources and land vehicles. Some 82 French firefighters - soldiers and civilians - arrived Thursday evening from Marseille and were to intervene on Friday in this disaster, we learned from a French official.

Greek civil protection has announced that it is expecting two planes from France and three helicopters from Switzerland, in addition to reinforcements from Cyprus and Sweden.

Israel will for its part send as soon as possible in a civilian plane 15 firefighters and a large shipment of flame retardants, the Israeli authorities have announced.

Due to the extreme danger, the authorities banned all movement or stay in the forests, national parks and Natura areas of Greece until Monday, August 9, according to civil protection. The Athenians were, moreover, invited to remain confined to their homes to avoid the toxic fumes given off by the fire above the capital.



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