In response to the catastrophic wildfires wreaking havoc in Greece, the European Union has taken action by sending four Canadair water aircraft to support firefighting efforts. The wildfires, driven by hurricane-force winds, have laid waste to vast pine forests, homes, and forced mass evacuations in the region around Athens.
As the wildfires continue to rage, a contingent of approximately 250 firefighters, soldiers, and volunteers are tirelessly working to contain an out-of-control fire situated 18 miles north of Athens. Their efforts have been bolstered by the assistance of water-dumping aircraft, vehicles, and helicopters.
The inferno originated in the region of Dervenochoria and rapidly intensified due to the combination of extreme heat and arid conditions, creating a perfect storm for the rapid spread of the flames.
The situation remains critical, with fires engulfing the municipality of Mandra and advancing menacingly towards the Motor Oil Hellas refineries in Corinth, prompting the declaration of a state of emergency in Loutraki. The magnitude of the wildfires has caught the attention of the Greek Prime Minister, who cut short his trip to Brussels to personally supervise the firefighting operations.
One major challenge faced by local authorities and firefighters is the absence of adequate firefighting aircraft. This deficiency has been cited as a cause for concern, as it hampers the ability to contain and extinguish the wildfires effectively. The thick haze of acrid smoke enveloping the affected areas further exacerbates the difficulties faced by emergency responders.
In some encouraging news, authorities managed to contain the flames in coastal communities located southeast of Athens. However, the fires left behind a trail of destruction, damaging properties in Anavyssos, Lagonissi, and Saronissos.