Greek firemen battle 91 wildfires in 24 hours

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-14 21:15:26|Editor: Liangyu
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By Alexia Vlachou

ATHENS, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- In the last 24 hours, Greek firemen were struggling to contain a total of 91 wildfires across Greece, including a large front in eastern Athens suburbs, according to the Greek Fire Brigade.

The raging wildfire that broke out near the town of Kalamos located some 40 km north of Athens, on Sunday afternoon spread overnight to nearby towns of Varnavas and Grammatiko due to high winds.

Up to 200 firemen and volunteers were fighting to put out the fire using 68 fire engines, 20 municipal water trucks assisted by four firefighting aircraft and a water dropping helicopter.

The wildfire fronts, extending over an unprecedented 25 km, are still uncontrolled and rage in a forest area with high density, as vice mayor of Marathonas city, Adam Megagiannis said to Athens News Agency.

Local media reported that two military bases near Varnavas, where rockets and other weapons are stored, were under threat by the blaze. The fire brigade managed to contain them.

Along with the two military bases, authorities evacuated a monastery and two children camps for precaution reasons.

More than a dozen houses were damaged by the fire, but there are no reports of injuries. Power outages were also reported due to the destruction of power lines and substations.

In other fronts, the Ionian island of Zakynthos was declared in a state of emergency due to raging wildfires that have been burning since Friday. A total of 12 fire fronts broke out on Monday, most of them were contained within a few hours, the Fire Brigade said.

Huge concerns have raised towards the numerous wildfires recorded on the island, with the authorities of Fire Service suspecting deliberate arson.

At the same time, Greek Minister of Justice Stavros Kontonis visiting the island backed the claim, saying that "this is planned". Arson investigators have been dispatched to the island.

Greece suffers each summer from destructive wildfires which are linked to scorching temperatures and arson in many cases.

In 2007, in the worst wildfires-linked tragedy in decades, over 80 people died during major wildfires across Greece.