A wildfire in the mountainous region of Penteli, near Athens, burned homes and prompted authorities to order the evacuation of at least nine areas and a hospital early yesterday morning.
Thick clouds of smoke covered the sky over Mount Penteli, which caught fire on Tuesday night, 27 kilometers north of central Athens. Firefighters said there was no casualty.
Around 485 firemen and 120 fire tenders were engaged in efforts to douse the fire which was raging at several fronts. More than seven helicopters and other aircraft dropped water on the flames, but operations were suspended for the night due to safety concerns.
“It was a difficult night,” fire department spokesman Yanis Ardubius said in a televised statement, adding that winds exceeded 80 kilometers per hour. “Due to the intensity and speed of the wind, the direction of the fire kept changing throughout the night, which made it very difficult to fight them in the middle of the night,” he added. Local authorities said that some houses in Balini area have been gutted by the fire. The fire brigade did not confirm this information. Authorities ordered the evacuation of nine districts, including Balini and Gerakas. The Athens National Hospital and Observatory were also evacuated as a precaution. Traffic was halted on the roads leading to Pendelli, and police helped at least 600 residents evacuate the fire-ravaged areas.
Due to the intensity and speed of the wind, the direction of the fire kept changing throughout the night, making it very difficult to fight them in the middle of the night. Events and images are political stories
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