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Megara wildfire abates, one front remains in Salamina

A fire that raged near the city of Megara, some 40 km west of Athens, “looked better” the Fire Service said Wednesday night, while one front remained on the island of Salamina, a 15-minute ferry trip from the capital.

Authorities have already ordered the evacuation of at least four settlements in both regions.

In Megara, the flames were limited west of the settlement of Zahouli, while firefighters fought a smaller front near Pefkenea. Authorities have already ordered the evacuation of at least four settlements in those areas.

In Salamina, firefighters managed to contain the blazes in Anemomyli and Samari and were now focusing on the front on Patris hill.

Meanwhile, authorities said a large wildfire in Mount Parnitha, north of Athens, that forced hundreds of people to flee and damaged property has been brought under control. The wildfire broke out on Tuesday some 27 km (16 miles) north of the capital and, fanned by gale-force winds, spread quickly to nearby urban districts – including Penteli and Anthousa – with a total population of about 90,000.

Firefighters recovered the body of an 84-year old man who died from shotgun injuries, police said. A fire brigade spokesman said the injuries appeared to be self-inflicted but the incident was under investigation.

“Yesterday’s fire in the area of Penteli had all the features of a situation which was very hard to manage,” Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said in a televised statement on Wednesday.

“Now the fire has been brought under control.”

But with strong winds forecast to persist until Thursday, around 485 firefighters, 120 fire engines and almost 20 aircraft remained deployed to minimise the risk of flare-ups, Fire Service spokesman Yiannis Artopios said.

Civil protection ordered the evacuation of at least nine districts and helped at least 600 people flee their homes.

Authorities have been investigating the cause of the fire.

Penteli suffered a wildfire in July 2018, and huge blazes there in 1995 and 1998 burned more than 13,000 hectares.

Source: Reuters/Kathimerini