Greek Government Considers Fire on Evia Island an Ecological Disaster

Athens - The wildfire that spread over the island of Evia threatens to cause an ecological catastrophe in the center of the territory, considered one of the best preserved wild flora and fauna reserves in Greece, authorities stated Wednesday.

'It's a huge ecological catastrophe in a unique pine forest,' said outgoing regional governor Costas Bakoyannis, speaking to the Natura 2000 network.

According to media reports, firefighters are attempting to stop the fire that broke out 30 hours ago and is advancing along a 12-kilometre front without having caused any fatalities so far.

The incident began at the side of a road and spread quickly due to strong gusts of wind and the very dense and dry vegetation of the interior of the island, a pine forest considered natural heritage due to its wildlife and wild flora.

A civil protection official, Thanassis Karakatzas, reported that 'from Psachna to Kontodespoti and Makrymalli, everything has been burned. We were lucky not to have human victims.'

The wildfire forced the evacuation of the villages of Kontodespoti, Macrymalli, Stavros and Platana, in the center of the island, and threatens to reach Psachna city overnight, authorities announced.

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