Many residents of the villages around Karystos fled their homes on Saturday night terrified from the flames that strong winds have fast led to their houses. Hotels in the area were emptied, many tourists panic and fled, while others stayed overnight at the beach or near the sea to see what would happen.
“My fellow hoteliers said that the buildings of their hotels are damaged, but so far no formal notification of damages was made. It seems that rural tourism farms were damaged the most”, said the President of the Evia Hotel Union Harris Mitros for the Ethnos newspaper. Mr. Mitros said that it will become clear by Monday morning how the fire hit tourism in the area and whether there will be cancellations for stays as the new tourists expected this week are of the last wave of the “on leave” season.
As Karystos Deputy Mayor Antonis Polihroniu told for Mega TV, eight houses and many yards burned and the fire damaged thousands of olive trees and crops. Karystos Mayor Spiros Platimesis said yesterday that it is very likely the fire was set deliberately. “I’ve been told yesterday (Saturday) evening that there were four outbreaks of the fire, which suggests that it may be intentional arson,” he said.
More than 70 firefighters fought the flames till 18:30 yesterday in very difficult conditions as the electricity was interrupted, because the wooden power poles burned. It, in turn, led to problems with water supply. Many residents of the area, who returned to their houses in the early hours of the morning, helped to fight the fire. Fire aircraft could not throw water because of the strong winds, nor could it take water from the sea due to large waves. Late in the afternoon, when the winds stopped, four helicopters involved in the fire extinguishment. At the same time the fire had already gone away from settlements and was split into two major fronts - one east of the Aetorahi area and the other north to Kokinohoma district. The teams of the Directorate for crime and deliberate arson are already in Karystos to study the causes of the fire.
It should be noted that a fire raged in the same area a month ago. It didn’t cover a large area then but a fire there turned into ashes 100,000 acres of forests and fields in 2009. The fire in Karystos covered the mountain areas yesterday evening and burned the low vegetation. It was very difficult even for the foot firefighters to get there. This year is the third year of fires in Karystos.
Fires were burning in other areas of Greece. The largest were those in Itilos Laconia, Arakso Achaia and the Togani area in Keratea in Attica, which were quickly extinguished.
A 55-year-old man lost his life yesterday in the field near the village of Rodakino in Rethymno of Crete. A large fire there burned thousands of hectares of grassland vegetation. It is believed that the man suffocated. 14 firefighters and seven fire vehicles are still operating in the region of Rodakino. The fire in the Preveli area in Rethymno caused incredible damages. The beautiful and the second largest island forest of palm trees turned to ashes. The fire flames reached the historic monastery on Preveli and it was close to ignition.
Today the Attica region and many parts of the country are in the red danger zone. According to the release of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection car traffic and tourists stay in the national reserves, in forests and in threatened areas is prohibited. Except in Attica high risk of fire exists in Boeotia, Euboea, Argolis, Corinth, Laconia, Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Cyclades, Crete, and Evros area of Halkidiki.