A fire is currently devouring the slopes of Mount Parnitha, one of the four mountains that surround the city of Athens and which is home to a national park in Greece. The flames have reached some homes in Menidi, a town on the outskirts of Athens, near a military site. Previously, the fire destroyed properties and homes in Hasia and Fyli, areas close to the capital.
Nikos Kuntromichalis, a member of the Greek Red Cross, reported that many people are refusing to leave their homes; even elderly people have been found passed out on their patios. Several individuals have suffered burns and respiratory problems, and unfortunately, the wind is not helping to put out the fire, according to Stathis Topalidis, deputy mayor of Menidi.
In the last five days, Greek firefighters have had to deal with 350 fires, of which 200 broke out in the last 48 hours, according to Civil Protection Minister Vasilis Kikilias. Yorgos Purnaras, the Greek fire chief, said he had never seen such extreme conditions in his 32 years of service.
In the midst of the emergency, the civil protection services ordered the evacuation of the Ano Liosia neighborhood, near Fyli, and other fires are also affecting areas such as Aspropyrgos and the northeast of the country, near the border with Turkey.
There has been speculation on social networks about the possibility that migrants are behind the fires, although the origin of the fires is still unknown. Three people were arrested for forcing migrants to get on a truck and disseminating it on social networks. The Greek Supreme Court prosecutor’s office ordered an investigation into the causes of the fires and accusations of racism towards migrants.
The flames are also affecting islands such as Euboea and Kythnos, as well as Boeotia. The intensely hot and dry weather conditions will continue through Friday, according to weather services. In three days, from August 19 to 21, more than 40,000 hectares have been consumed by fire, according to the National Observatory of Athens.