Forest fires ravage Greece1

Forest fires ravage Greece

29 June 2007

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Greece — Dozens of fires ravaged thousands of hectares of landyesterday, killing two people, as an ebbing heat wave continued to provokeblackouts across the country.

Firefighters are pictured in front of a blaze caused by an explosion at an electricity substation in Thessaloniki yesterday. No one was injured. The explosion, provoked by a malfunctioning transformer, caused blackouts of up to six hours in Thessaloniki and across the northern prefectures of Macedonia and Thrace. More than 100 fires ravaged Greece yesterday, the worst in Larissa, Pelion and Dervenohoria, Viotia. In the town of Aghia, near Larissa, two people were killed after their truck was trapped by flames. (Photo: Giorgos Fotiadis/ANA/Megapress) Fires were reported from more than 100 sites – some the continuation of blazes that started on Wednesday. Two men, aged 36 and 42, died in Aghia, near Larissa in central Greece, after their truck was surrounded by flames. A third man in the truck escaped unharmed.

Apart from Larissa, the worst of yesterday’s fires were in Pelion and in Dervenohoria, Viotia. The work of firefighters in Dervenohoria was hampered after buried World War Two mines exploded in the area. The blaze was still spreading last night as strong winds fanned the flames in the direction of Mount Parnitha. Local hotels and the casino were evacuated and firefighters erected a barrier to stop the fire spreading to the other side of the mountain.

Of some 120 fires to have broken out since Wednesday, most had been extinguished by last night. Fire officials believe some of the blazes may have been the work of arsonists.

A total of 24 water-dropping aircraft and 13 helicopters were mobilized to assist rescue efforts on the ground. France and Italy sent two firefighting planes each after Greece appealed to the EU for help.


We are facing an unprecedented situation, Interior Minister ProkopisPavlopoulos told reporters yesterday after briefing Prime Minister CostasKaramanlis.

According to Health Ministry officials, at least nine people have died ofheat-related health problems since last Friday.

Meanwhile, many parts of the country were hit by power outages, some lastingfor hours, due to increased energy consumption. Although temperatures droppedsignificantly from Tuesday’s 46 Celsius (115 Fahrenheit) high, the heat wasstill oppressive and air conditioners were still on overdrive.

An explosion at an electricity substation in Thessaloniki sparked blackoutsacross most of northern Greece. The Public Power Corporation (PPC) said theexplosion, which caused no injuries, was caused by a malfunctioning transformerthat was being repaired. By late yesterday, parts of northern Greece weregetting their power back.


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