Major forest fire ravaging Thasos – State of emergency declared

A state of emergency has been declared on the island of Thasos, in the north Aegean, as firefighters, soldiers and volunteers have been battling with a major fire on the for the past three days. Over 250 firefighters, along with 40 soldiers, 15 volunteers, 5 aircraft and 4 helicopters have been struggling against the strong winds to contain the fire, which broke out early on Saturday morning.

The Alternate Minister of Public Order Nikos Toskas and Minister of Agricultural Development Evangelos Apostolou are already on the island and participated in a meeting with local authorities to assess the damage and situation. The Alt. Minister commented that the state mechanism is on full alert.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras cancelled a visit to a school on Monday in order to head to the island, along with the Ministers of Interior Panagiotis Kouroumplis and Infrastructure Christos Spirtzis, as well as the General Secretary of Civil Protection Yannis Kapakis and the Chief of the Fire Brigade Lt. General Yannis Karatzias.

According to the Mayor of Thasos Kostas Hatziemmouil, the situation appears to be getting under control, although he warned that the shift in wind speed and direction could cause resurgence. Mr. Hatziemmanouil avoided commenting on the extent of damages caused, stressing that an assessment will be carried out as soon as the fire is finally extinguished.

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