Wildfire Still Wreaking Havoc on Greek Island

State television said at least 28,000 hectares of pine forest have been destroyed. About 9,100 hectares of forest were burnt to ashes in the municipality of Dyrfia-Messapia in central Evia by midday Wednesday, according to data from the European satellite Sentinel-2.

On Tuesday, when the fire broke out, Greek authorities evacuated at least four villages and hundreds of people on Evia as a precaution. Wind hampered their work as it carried the smoke as far as the Greek capital.

International assistance has proved crucial to battling the flames, which have surged in the combustible thick pine forests of the island's natre reserve. The Greek civil protection force submitted a request for aid to the EU Civil Protection Organization and has already received assistance. Italy sent two aircraft on Wednesday. Three aircraft have been assigned through the RescEU program for EU member-states facing natural disasters. Another aircraft was flown from Spain.

The smoke has been captured by Copernicus EU satellite imagery, which has offered to assist in tracking the fire and has activated its emergency status.

The Athens Observatory's meteorological service has warned that the final damage is likely to be great, as the fire continues to rage, threatening the flora and fauna of the island's reserve, which forms part of the EU's Natura 2000 network.

Greece is still recovering from the deadly and devastating fire on Mati near Athens in July 2018, which left 102 people dead within only a few hours. Many died after being trapped in their houses and cars. Others drowned in their attempt to escape the smoke.

Authorities were blamed for their slow response and poor coordination. Similar criticism is surfacing about the current government and its own...

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