The fire that broke out on Mt. Athos in Halkidiki, northern Greece on Aug. 8 raged for days despite all-night coordinated operations by firefighters on air and ground. The situation was slightly better on Aug. 11 because of milder winds but the inaccessible area hindered firefighting efforts.
All military units in the wider area of Macedonia were put on alert following orders from Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and National Defense Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos. Despite the strong forces battling the blaze, the wildfire was still burning the area from Mt. Athos to Komitsa which is eight kilometers, or five miles from Ouranopolis.
The Serbian government responded to Greece’s call for help sending personnel and firefighting vehicles and helicopters. Greek authorities said they were searching for a suspected arsonist from Lithuania who spend days in a Mt Athos cloister near the borders with Ouranopolis. The fire has already burned approximately 15,000 acres of virgin forestland, olive groves and vineyards. Elsewhere, a wildfire in Arcadia was still burning as was another in Corinth, were two foreigners were captured and are facing charges of arson. The government promised to compensate people whose fields and properties were destroyed in the fire. On Aug. 12, specialized personnel will measure the exact surface burned and the compensation process will begin shortly after.