Tough night at Villia, keeping wildfire away from homes; Keratea front ‘improved’

The situation with the fire in Keratea in eastern Attica has improved, while that in Villia, western Attica, will be “an all-night effort,” Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis said on Monday evening.

In a brief announcement on progress in fighting the wildfires, both burning through thick forested areas, Chrisochoidis said of Keratea that “there are scattered pockets of fire, but they lie within the perimeter of the wildfire, and efforts continue to demarcate it.” At least three communities have been evacuated.

Fighting the wildfire that broke out at 10:30 am at a low brush area near Markati village are a total of 104 firefighters, 3 ground teams, 40 fire trucks, the mobile operations center ‘Olympos’, and, until sunset, 8 airplanes and 11 helicopters. In addition, there were volunteers, foreign firefighters, heavy machinery and local water trucks, he sait.

Protecting Villia

Villia, on the other hand, did not show an improvement, the minister said, partly because of high velocity winds which were registered at both of these regions in Attica. The fire was moving to the forested area and toward evacuated settlements, but was not near homes yet. Several communities have been evacuated, he added, and efforts were going to continue through the night, focusing on cutting off the fire from Villia itself and two more villages.

A total of 240 firefighters, 4 ground teams, and 82 fire trucks were operating in the region, assisted during the day by 9 helicopters and 8 airplanes. Assistance is provided in addition by Poland through the RescEU program, with another 143 firefighters and 46 fire trucks.

Both fires in Villia and Keratea are being investigated on suspicion of arson, he said, adding that on Monday there were 45 new fires that broke out and firefighters had handled 96 fires.

“We call on you for collaboration and appeal to the public to follow the directions of authorities,” Chrisochoidis said in conclusion.