Major wildfire continues to burn in central Evia; 56 blazes around Greece reported on Tues.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019 20:04
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A major wildfire continued to burn over a wide area in central Evia island on Tuesday afternoon, with the smoke from the blaze blanketing the skies as far away as the greater Athens area, more than 100 kilometers to the southwest.

Three villages were evacuated in the mountainous and semi-mountainous region.


Total of 56 wildfires and fires were reported around the east Mediterranean country on Tuesday, with up to 800 firefighters activated, and with 347 vehicles employed.

Greece on Tuesday also requested assistance from its European partners, with seven fire-fighting aircraft expected on Wednesday.

The situation sparked an urgent reaction by civil defense authorities and the new Mitsotakis government, which assumed power early last month.


The mishandling of a sudden and ferocious wildfire in late July 2018 at a coastal site (Mati) in eastern Attica prefecture caused 102 deaths, with the then Tsipras government taking a beating in public approval polls and by the opposition.   

In a nod to just how sensitive public opinion in Greece has become to perceived state mishandling of natural disaster, all relevant ministers were in Athens or near the blaze on Tuesday, with PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis also cutting short his holiday and returning to the Greek capital.

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