A firefighter operates during a wildfire in the area of Giannouli, Evros region, northern Greece, 31 August 2023. EFE/EPA/DIMITRIS ALEXOUDIS

Deadly Evros fire in Greece still out of control after 13 days

Athens/Nicosia, Aug 31 (EFE).- A fire that has been burning in the northeast of Greece for over 13 days, destroying over 90,000 hectares and killing 19 people, was still out of control on Thursday.

Firefighters on the ground managed Wednesday night to divert the direction of the fire, which was threatening residential areas, but failed to bring it under control, according to public broadcaster ERT.

The most challenging front for the nearly 500 firefighters deployed in the area is between the villages of Sidiro and Gianouli, the latter located on the borders of the Dadia national park, where firefighters found the charred bodies of 18 people, possibly irregular migrants, including two children, on Aug. 22, while in the region of Boeotia, in central Greece, a farmer died a few days ago while trying to save his animals from the flames.

Twenty-one deaths due to the fires have been confirmed across the country.

Spain, in the framework of the EU emergency response mechanism, has sent two more aircraft in addition to those already sent by France, Germany, Sweden, Croatia, Cyprus and the Czech Republic.

The airborne firefighting operation was reactivated Thursday morning, involving eight aircraft and five helicopters, most of them provided by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

The fire in the northeastern region of Evros is the largest fire in the European Union since records began in 2000.

The Dadia Natural Park in Evros has been badly affected by the flames, with experts warning that the area might never recover from the disaster.

In addition to Evros, firefighters reported Thursday that the risk of fires is high in other regions of Greece, such as the islands of Crete and Rhodes or in the region of Αtica, where Athens, the capital, is located.

North of Athens firefighters were still engaged in the area of Parnitha, a mountainous area that has also been badly affected by the wave of fires that the country has been suffering for almost two weeks.

In total, so far in 2023, the fires in Greece have already burned about 150,000 hectares, more than 1.1% of the total area of the country, in the second worst year since 2007 as far as burned territory is concerned. EFE