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Two intentional fires this week

19 July 2013 / 16:07:31  GRReporter
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Intentional arson is the cause of the fires that broke out near Petra on Parnitha Mountain and the village of Alepohori yesterday. According to firefighters, the fire on Parnitha broke out just over the horse base, in a very inaccessible place which had hampered the firefighters and they were unable to bring the fire under control before it reached the pine forest.
 
The fire in Alepohori started in the area of Dourakos and quickly spread to the settlements of the village. 40 vehicles of the fire department with 100 firefighters went there on Thursday night and the police closed off the area to vehicles in order to prevent further damage. 70-80 acres of woods and farmland around Alepohori have been burnt.

The fire brigade along with officers of the department investigating intentional arsons arrived at both sites to collect evidence and testimonies.

The fire in Parnitha broke out first. According to the fire department, it started at 9:11 pm, when the sun had set. This means that the air firefighting forces were no longer able to be in use and the strong winds had further hampered the activities of the firefighters.

While the fire brigades were fighting against the blaze on Parnitha, the central office was informed, at about 2:00 am, of a new fire near Megaron, Alepohori. The way in which the new fires had broken out prompted the fire department to suspect arson and the investigation is continuing.

The extinguishing of the two fires involved over 100 firefighters from the department in Athens, 32 fire engines, 5 foot units, 10 cars of volunteers and 20 people, 15 water-carriers provided by the municipality, another 10 private water tanks, 42 soldiers, 3 excavators of the army and additional help from the countryside.

The air firefighting forces took part in the operation after sunrise, helping to bring the fires under control and to almost completely extinguish them a little later.

This week’s fire in Parnitha has again given rise to the fear of the residents of Attica that the devastation of the firestorm of 2007 could be repeated when, as now, the fire had suddenly broken out in the mountains and the strong wind (4-5 knots) had only exacerbated the problem. The flames in the forest were 20-30 metres high and the fire was clearly visible from tens of kilometres away.

The investigation of the fires in Parnitha and Alepohori is underway and there is no information yet about possible suspects.

In the red zone

The firefighters are warning that the risk of fire in Attica and southern Evia on Friday corresponds to the fourth degree on the relevant scale which means that the risk for a firestorm to break out and spread is very high due to the winds, air temperature and the ground characteristics of the region. Typical of the fourth degree is the fact that even a small spark can cause massive destruction.
 
The fire department is again informing the people that they should not throw away waste in the open because the majority of it is made from flammable materials and can easily ignite when exposed to the sun.

Another tip from firefighters is that working in the open with an electric welding machine or other tools that produce sparks that can start a fire should be avoided on hot and windy days.

In all cases, starting a fire outdoors, whether for a camping or a barbeque, should be avoided, especially if there are shrubs or dry grass around.

Last but not least, firefighters emphasize, "Respect the bans on entering dangerous areas when they are defined as high-risk areas."

Tags: SocietyFiresGreeceParnitha
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