- In almost all fire regions in Greece, flames continue to burn with unlimited intensity.
- In Turkey, volunteers support emergency services on the Turkish Riviera.
- A number of forest fires had to be fought in southern Italy in Sicily and Calabria.
- International aid began – including from Switzerland. The three Swiss Helicopters operate in Greece.
In Greece, a large part of the island of Evia is on fire. There, firefighting aircraft began to be increasingly used after the fires in the north of Athens had subsided for the time being and there was no longer a great need for aircraft in the densely populated area.
However, the work of the rescuers has become more difficult: “There are great difficulties for the firefighting planes because the temperatures are very high and the visibility is very poor,” said the head of the Greek Civil Protection Nikos Chardalias. There are two huge fire fronts on the island.
We left the fire
The bitterness among the people on the island of Evia is great because the firefighting work from the air has been concentrated in northern Athens for the past few days. “We left the flames,” a man told Sky TV.
You had no other choice, however, the rescuers said. “We cannot be everywhere. Just imagine that the flames in the north of Athens spread to densely populated areas.”
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has also repeatedly emphasized in the past few days that human life takes priority over property and forests.
The situation in the Peloponnese also spiraled out of control on Sunday. The most dangerous fire broke out there south of the small town of Megalopolis. Another fire broke out from the west of the island near Olympia to the densely forested mountainous Arcadia in the interior of the peninsula.
There is a shortage of firefighting planes
District mayors are demanding more help from the air. They criticized the fact that decision-makers in Athens have deployed more firefighting planes to the Greek capital region over the past two days, which has led to the fires spiraling out of control in the regions.
The situation remained calm in the north of the Greek capital. A radio firefighter said firefighters, volunteers and the military can now put out smaller sources of fire.
Firefighters from Romania, France, Cyprus, Croatia, Israel, Great Britain, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Egypt, Qatar and Kuwait will participate in the firefighting work over the next few days. Firefighters from Germany are expected to arrive in Athens in the middle of next week.
Swiss aid has begun
Switzerland responded to an international request for help from the Greek authorities and sent three Super Puma military helicopters and 40 army personnel to Athens on Saturday. The first firefighting operations are scheduled to begin from Sunday.
An advance detachment had already traveled to Greece in advance in order to create conditions for the deployment of the helicopter and to ensure coordination with the authorities. This team is made up of members of the Swiss Federal Humanitarian Aid Corps, fire specialists from the Genie/Rescue/ABC Teaching Association and members of the Air Force.
A desperate need for help, emergency services and residents of the affected areas are at the end of their rope after more than a week of continuous work.
Southern Italy and Russia were also affected
The fire brigade is also used continuously in Italy. It moved more than 180 times on Saturday evening in Sicily alone due to the wildfires. The popular holiday island was hardest hit. Rescuers also conducted more than 100 missions in Calabria in the far south of Italy and in Apulia on the Adriatic. The fire brigade also reported two deaths in the area in the bushfires.
In Russia, the forest fire situation also assumes more dramatic proportions. In the world’s largest country by area, authorities have reported more than 250 fires with a total area of more than three million hectares.
The agency responsible for forest protection, Avialesoochrana, said the extinguishing work involved 180 fires covering an area of about 1.3 million hectares. She added that other fires in hard-to-reach areas will not be put out because there is no danger to people. The Siberian Yakutia (Sakha Republic) in northeastern Russia was particularly affected. There, as in eight regions, a state of emergency was in place.
Turkey is battling the worst forest fires in more than a decade for the 12th consecutive day. According to official information, at least six fires were not brought under control on Sunday. The forces were concentrated mainly in Mugla province, western Turkey.
There, the wind made it difficult to put out the fire. Due to the mountainous and sloping terrain, it is difficult for vehicles to access the densely forested area of the country. Firefighting planes and helicopters repeatedly dropped water. Support came from Spain, Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, among other countries.
In addition to emergency services, a number of volunteers are also committed to containing the fires on the country’s Mediterranean coast. “There are at least 2,000 volunteers in the affected areas,” said civil protection agency spokesman Afad. According to experts, more than 100,000 hectares of land have been burned throughout the country. Meanwhile, the situation in the southern Turkish city of Antalya has calmed down. According to the local authorities, the emergency services there were withdrawn and sent to western Turkey for reinforcements.
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