Gale force winds on the Greek island made it impossible for the raging Evia wildfire to be put out. Five helicopters, six jets and 200 firefighters working throughout the day failed to extinguish the 20-30 meter high flames. Winds dying down will make it possible for the helicopters and jets to water-bomb the area fruitfully.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis cut his vacation short to return to Athens due to the emergency. Mitsotakis reached out to the EU for assistance. While the firefighting efforts continue on parts of the Evia, Mitsotakis has already visited the area to assess the damage.
On Tuesday morning, wildfires on Greek's second-largest island were reported. Residents of Kontodespoti and Makrimalli villages as well as the monastery of Panagia Makrymallis were evacuated.
Strong winds blew smoke and ash from Evia all the way to the Greek capital city of Athens. People of Athens were told to remain indoors and keep all doors and windows shut.
Pine forests on Evia are a part of the Natura 2000 protected area. Origin of the fire is suspected to be close to the highway which is accessible to the public. Once the flames are put out, investigations will be undertaken to figure out if it was a case of arson.
Since the weekend, Greece has been plagued with a series of forest fires in different areas. On Saturday there were two fires in Marathon. The small island of Elafonisos went up in flames on Sunday. In Peania, two homes were burnt down by fires on Monday. Since Tuesday, the Evia wildfire has been a raging mess.
No loss of life has been reported due to the fires in Evia. One firefighter has been injured and is currently undergoing treatment for burns. Water-bombing efforts will continue until the fire is extinguished.