Varybobi fire fronts, out of control, reach national highway, head to Agios Stefanos

Varybobi fire fronts, out of control, reach national highway, head to Agios Stefanos

The large fire that started in Varybobi on Mt. Parnitha and is now extended north and east, has reached the national highway at Afidnes towards Agios Stefanos as of Thursday night. It is out of control.

The fire has crossed the national highway five times, but was put out by the Fire Brigade.

Police are shutting traffic at the Agios Stefanos junction in the direction to Lamia, and at Ippokratous Street from Lakkaginis store in Kiourka to evacuated Ippokratios Politia, where one front of the fire is now heading.

Firefighters are trying to create zones to prevent the fire going to Agios Stefanos and the national highway, since help by air had to stop at sunset and to put out pockets before they grow.

Earlier in the day, three more areas were being evacuated after the wide spread of the fire in Varybobi eastwards from Mt. Parnitha.

Kryoneri, Kokkinovrachos and Afidnes just received an order to evacuate, while Ippokratios Politia and Drossopigi had been evacuated earlier. Residents were warned through 112 European emergency number messages. The three areas' residents are asked to head toward the Athens-Lamia national road, while Ippokratios Politia were asked to head to Oropos.

Fires have reached Kryoneri and Drossopigi already, north and east of Varybobi respectively, while also  heading to Katsimidi and Kokkinovrahos further north.

Firefighters are relying on help by air, as very high temperatures have made it very difficult for ground forces to remain at the fire front. Ten helicopters and 7 airplanes are operating until nightfall. The Russian Beriev airplane is out of operation because it needs maintenance, and will resume on Friday. Another two Swedish aircraft arriving through the RescEU emergency assistance program have been grounded in Poland because of the weather.

Police has stopped traffic on all roads leading to the region.

Transportation changes as Varybobi fire spreads towards national highway

Announcements of train service suspensions and national highway shutdowns were announced late on Thursday as a fire on Parnitha mountain and Varybobi spread out of control east and north.

Trains between Inoi and Athina are suspended, following relevant orders, TrainOSE announced on Thursday. Passengers of trains numbered 57, 1559 and 885 will be transported to Athens by bus, as long as circumstances allow it, the company said.

On national highway AThE (Athens-Thessaloniki-Evzoni), the section from Kaliftakis junction to Inofita junction has been shut.

Nea Odos managers said that it was following police orders. Drivers heading to Lamis must exit at Kaliftakis exit, and those heading to Athens must exit at Inofyta exit. In addition, the tolls on the side road of Inofita will not be collecting fees.

Emergency power cuts

Meanwhile, the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) warned on Thursday evening of possible scheduled power interruptions in the Attica Region, depending on developments of the fire burning in the area.

IPTO said that the fire has taken out two networks that supply the extra high voltage center of Agios Stefanos, east of Kryoneri, which is one of the key electricity suppliers in Attica.

The power transmission operator explained that it had worked with the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) to draw up a precautionary protection system for the transmission system, and this would incorporate targeted and rolling interruptions of power to households. HEDNO would issue an announcement ahead of time, IPTO said.

Firefighters are focused on preventing the spread of the fire, which has already burned a large swathe of the forest in the past few days. If it crosses over to the other side of Parnitha mountain, it will threaten Ippokratios Politia, which has been evacuated already.

Fire Brigade officials said that the power of the flames have created local wind channels that spread the fire faster.

 

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