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A helicopter drops water over a forest fire on Evia A helicopter drops water over a forest fire on Evia  (ANSA)

Greece: major wildfire ‘brought under control’

Greek firefighters bring a major wildfire under control north of Athens, as at least four villages are evacuated and many acres of pine woods and olive groves destroyed.

By John Carr

The fire has devastated a large area in the centre of Evia, which is a long island off the east Greek coast, and the location of many holiday homes.

The only casualty so far is one fireman hospitalized with burns, though an undetermined number of houses and cars have been torched.

The smoke from the fires cast a pall over Athens, as the Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, cuts short his holiday in Crete to coordinate the firefighting.

It’s seen as a test for Mitsotakis’s five-week-old government which has pledged to upgrade public security.

Better prepared

Memories are still fresh from little more than a year ago, when 102 people died in a devastating and uncontrollable fire that swept through the resort town of Mati near Athens.

This time, though, the new government was determined not to be caught napping, and seems to have mobilized its resources in time to avoid major casualties.

14 August 2019, 14:42