ATHENS, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) — Greek firefighters on Monday morning put under control the wildfire which broke out during the night on Hymettus mountain in Athens, local authorities said.
No injuries have been reported. There was only damage to forest land and two houses.
“The blaze is under control at the moment, but we fear possible flare-ups as the winds are picking up. At least for the time being it is contained and there were no injuries or casualties. Only a couple of houses have been damaged,” Petros Filippou, deputy regional governor of Eastern Attica, told Xinhua and local media on site.
“Residents of houses which are nearby were evacuated and we still do not allow people to return as a precaution,” he added.
“The Fire Service arrived quickly and people were saved and we did not mourn more victims,” Christos Nerai, a local, said.
“The fire was so huge, that when we woke up and left our houses the flames were reaching up to ten meters,” he said.
Over 100 firefighters were mobilized to battle the blaze, and residents’ testimonies indicate arson, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.
According to preliminary information from the Fire Service, the fire started from the yard of a house in the eastern suburb of Paiania at the foot of Hymettus and reached up to the mountaintop of about 1,026 meters high.
Greek authorities have declared red alert for wildfires raging across the country since Saturday due to strong winds and high temperatures.
A total of 63 wildfires broke out nationwide during the weekend, and 875 firemen assisted by nine water dropping airplanes and 11 helicopters were deployed to extinguish them, the Fire Service said.
Greece faces destructive wildfires every summer. Most are linked to heat waves and arson.
A wildfire which swept through a seaside resort 30 km east of Athens in July 2018 resulted in 102 casualties.