The residents of six villages in the regional unit of Corinthia were told to leave their homes as a large wildfire ripped through thick pine forest near a seaside resort town of the northern Peloponnese on Thursday morning.
Authorities evacuated the communities of Schinos, Vamvakes, Agia Sotira, Mavrolimni, Mazi and Paraskevas, as well as the monasteries of Agios Ioannis Makrinos and Agia Paraskevi.
The blaze, which started on Wednesday night, damaged an unspecified number of properties but authorities have not yet completed an official assessment.
A spokesman for the Fire Department, Vassilis Varthakogiannis, told TV channel Skai on Thursday these properties are holiday homes and there was no immediate feedback by their owners. A team from the unit’s arson department was heading to Schinos to investigate the cause of the blaze.
Police have closed down roads to traffic on the Megaron-Alepochori road, from the 21st km to Alepochori and at the intersection of Porto Germenos with Psatha.
The deputy regional governor of Corinth, Anastasios Giolis, said the fire had spread to over 10 kilometers. On Thursday morning, the smoke had reached Athens forming a grey cloud over the city.
A unit of 182 firefighters with 62 fire engines along with 17 aircraft and three helicopters were operating in the area since dawn.
Loutraki mayor Giorgos Ginis told Skai the wildfire was now heading to another nearby seaside resort, Alepohori.
Local residents watch a fire burning through thick pine forest in the area of Schinos Loutraki, on Wednesday night. [Vassilis Psomas/ANA-MPA]