Forest fires are raging in Greece. The fire has already approached the capital of the country – Athens. Greek firefighters are not yet successful in their battle with the element. Authorities have announced the state of emergency in the prefecture Eastern Attica. The fire is advancing to the Athens with a front line of 50 kilometers, furthermore on Sunday, August 23rd there were 20 new places of ignition found while the total number of them is already 90. More than 12,000 hectares of forest has already burned down in the outskirts of Athens.
The forest fires advance because of the strong wind and 35 degree heat, that is why the firefights cannot stop it even with the help of aviation, they do not have enough water to extinguish the fire. Because of the smoke firefighting planes and helicopters have to work almost blindly. Dozens of houses and cars have burned down. Inhabitants leave the suburbs of Athens as they cannot resist the fire, there are victims.
The fire has also gotten to Marathon, the famous suburb of the Greek capital. Marathon inhabitants are evacuated by rescuers and firefighters. Two ancient sanctuaries that are often visited by tourists are endangered. The Ministry of Defense removes all the ammunition from the military base, which is located not far from Marathon.
The president of the country, Karolos Papoulias, has interrupted his vacation because of the emergency and returned to the country. Intense forest fires started in the eastern suburbs of Athens on Friday, August 21st. There are more than 600 firefighters, 12 planes and 7 helicopters involved in the battles with the fire. Italy and France have sent special helicopters and planes to help Greece.
Intense fires are also ongoing on Greek islands Skyros, Zakynthos and Euboea. To remind: in 2007 77 people died in Greece because of fires.