Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Twitter that Greece will re-forest the land destroyed by the fires taking place across Greece. Mitsotakis said in his post that “all burned areas will be considered re-forestable. We will change the way we launch protection projects, but also the way we do reforestation. We will focus all our attention on reparing the damage and our natural environment.”
Greece’s constitution obligates the government to re-forest burned land.
99 new wildfires in Greece on Thursday
A total of 99 new fires broke out across the country on Thursday, while the Fire Brigade attended to a total of 145 fires in the 24-hour period between Wednesday and Thursday, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection & Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said during an emergency briefing late on Thursday evening.
For this reason, the Greek government imposed restrictions on free passage through forests, groves, and parks.
Any travel, stay, or driving through forests, national parks, Natura registered areas, and other forested areas is now forbidden until Monday, August 9, throughout Greece.
The emergency legal act includes a ban on any activity that may lead to a fire, such as welding, burning of flammable material, and other such activities.
Fines are €1,000 for the first violation and €10,000 for the second, besides incurring criminal penalties.
In the area of Varympompi in Athens, the largest fire of all, a total of 95 rekindled fire pockets were recorded since Tuesday, with 12 new ones occurring on Thursday.
Burning on Mt. Parnitha, the fire remained out of control overnight and was blazing through the areas of Drosopigi and Kryoneri on Thursday evening, spreading north and east.
The towns of Polydendri, Kapandriti, Ippokrateios Politeia (State of Hippocrates), Kryoneri, Kokkinovraxos, Afidnes, and Drossopigi were evacuated and thousands of people had to rush either towards downtown Athens or other coastal areas to find safe refuge.
The national highway that connects Athens with Lamia and therefore central and northern Greece remained blocked off overnight, as the fire engulfed both sides of the road.
The railway line between Athens and Thessaloniki has also been closed.
In the area of Ancient Olympia in the northwestern Peloponnese, home to the namesake town and ancient site, a fire burning for a second day has led to the evacuation of a total of 32 communities.
One front was burning at the Chelidoni area towards Kryoneri, a village north of the town of Ancient Olympia, and the other was burning away, east of Kryoneri, towards the area of Lalas.
A message was sent from the European emergency 112 number to all residents in the areas of Vasilaki, Ypsilo, Aspra Spitia, Xirokampo, Ampari, Ano-Kato Louvro, Kryoneri, Lala, Douka, Lasdika, Nemouta to leave their homes and head toward Panopoulos on Thursday.
Thankfully, the archaeological site, the museum and the treasures of Ancient Olympia have remained intact.
Additionally, in the neighboring regional unit of Messenia, fires persist for a second day, with a total of four evacuations of villages having being carried out so far.
One of Greece’s Worst Wildfires: Evia island
Please support the Evia fire victims here: Gofundme.com/f/help-evia-greece
In northwest Evia, where fires have been burning since Tuesday evening, a total of 25 communities were evacuated, some of them by sea. People were taken by ships belonging to the Coast Guard and even private vessels and transported to the south of the island.
The north of the island is experiencing an unprecedented catastrophe.
Residents lost everything — their homes, personal possessions, and in many cases even their ways of making an income.
The fire, which hit the country that had already been battered by years of economic crisis, and just as it begins to recover from the losses of the pandemic, has now wiped out the hopes and dreams of many on Evia.
The village of Rovies was engulfed in flames on Wednesday. A huge wall of fire descended on the area from the north with some flames in the pine forest surrounding the area reaching 20 meters (60 feet) into the sky, painting a horrific scene that will not soon be forgotten.
Fortunately, residents had evacuated the area before the flames burned the village, and had made their way toward the sea.
There, vessels from the Greek Coast Guard rushed to the area in an effort to evacuate residents and tourists, while private boats were also recruited into the effort at the last minute.
Ferryboats also took part in the evacuation effort as flames continued to spread at what local news media called “breakneck speed.”
Similar scenes were repeated on Thursday in the broader area of Agia Anna (Saint Anna). More than 600 people were evacuated overnight, both residents and vacationers.