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EU readies to send firefighting planes to Greece amid raging wildfires

Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 - 15:51

The European Union made an appeal on Tuesday to the bloc’s countries to fight the violent fire on the island of Euboea in Greece. Crisis management commissioner Christos Stylianides also announced that the EU would mobilise its means of intervention.

Several European states are part of an emergency program called rescEU and have all been asked to provide help to contain the fire. the European Union has already helped to mobilise 3 forest fighting planes from the rescEU reserve from Italy and Spain to be dispatched to the affected regions. Should the reinforcement still be insufficient, the EU will send its own contingent of 9 planes and 6 helicopters, according to a European Commission spokesman

The fire began around 3 am on a highway and spread rapidly. Panagia Makrymallis Monastery has been evacuated as a precaution, as have 500 residents of the villages of Kontodespoti and Agrilitsa. Winds helped spread the fire in the dense, dry vegetation found on the centre of the island, and thick smoke from the fire reached the country’s capital, Athens, about 110 kilometres away.

According to firefighters, another fire was identified on Tuesday in a forest area on the island of Thassos, but hasn’t yet threatened residents.

On Monday, a major forest fire threatening homes in Peania, an eastern suburb of Athens, was brought under control, after at least two houses were burned, but there were no reports of injuries.

And on Sunday, a fire on the island of Elafonissos, was brought under control after a two days. Two more fires were put out on Saturday in Marathon.

Greece has been the victim in recent years of several forest fires.

Last year, a forest fire killed 100 people in the coastal town of Mati near Athens, and in 2007, fires killed 65 people, burned thousands of acres of forests and farms and threatened archaeological sites.

 

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