Blaze devastates Evia on the sixth day of a Greek wildfire


Pefki, Greece — Thousands of people fled their homes on Euboea, Greece, after a wildfire burned out of control for six days on Sunday. The ferry was waiting for further evacuation after safely taking many people by sea.

The flames of Greece’s second-largest island, Euboea, quickly grew to several fronts, cutting through thousands of hectares of pristine forests in the north, forcing the evacuation of dozens of villages. I did.

The flame swallowed the houses in five villages, but the full extent of the damage was not immediately apparent.

“It’s like a horror movie,” said a 38-year-old pregnant evacuee named Mina after boarding a rescue ferry in the town of Pefki, where falling ash covers the harbor.

“But now this isn’t a movie. It’s real life. It’s the horror we lived with last week,” she said.

Wildfires broke out in many parts of the country during Greece’s worst-ever week-long heat wave in 30 years, with intense heat and hot air creating a tinderbox condition. Forests were burned down across the country, destroying dozens of homes and businesses.

Wildfire erupts on North Evia
Firefighters attempt to extinguish a burning wildfire on August 8, 2021 near the village of Vasilika on the island of Evia, Greece. (Alexandros Avramidis / Reuters)

Since Tuesday, the Coast Guard has evacuated more than 2,000 people, including many elderly people, from various parts of Evia, which are connected to the mainland by bridges, with dramatic sea rescues as the night sky turns red.

Others walked overnight on roads dotted with flame-filled trees and fled the village.

“The house is burning here,” a woman said to a ground-based paramedic in the village of Vasilika, pointing to a distant scorching fire.

“Anywhere, anywhere, anywhere, anywhere,” replied one of the firefighters.

Governor Fanis Spanos of Central Greece said the situation in the northern part of the island was “extremely difficult” for nearly a week.

“The fronts are vast and the area of ​​burnt land is vast,” he told SkaiTV. He said more than 2,500 people were held in hotels and other shelters.

Greece has deployed troops to assist in the fight against fire, and several countries, including France, Egypt, Switzerland and Spain, have also sent assistance, including firefighting aircraft.

More than 570 firefighters are fighting the flames of Evia, where two active fronts are burning north and south of the island.

In the village of Psaropouli, displaced residents said they were angry.

“I lost my house … the next day there is nothing the same,” said one woman who gave her name as Vasilikia.

“This is a disaster. It’s huge. Our village has been destroyed, leaving us our homes, our property, nothing, nothing,” she said.

Nikos Hardarias, Deputy Minister of Private Protection in Greece, said paramedics are making “superhuman efforts” on multiple fronts.

“The night before will be difficult,” he said during an emergency briefing late Sunday. Earlier, he said water bombers in the area faced several hurdles, including thick smoke eruptions rising over the mountains and poor visibility caused by eddy.

The fire at the foot of Mount Parnitha, which struck the northern suburbs of Athens, was contained, but weather conditions meant that there was still a high threat that it could reignite.

Marco Trujillo