- Title: GREECE: Wildfire hits a medieval monastery in Greece.
- Date: 25th August 2009
- Summary: KALITECHNOUPOLI, GREECE (AUGUST 24, 2009) (REUTERS) PANTOKRATORAS MONASTERY SURROUNDED BY SMOKE FIREFIGHTERS ARRIVING ON SCENE NUNS AND LOCALS HOSING FIRE VARIOUS OF NUNS WITH GARDEN HOSES FIGHTING FLAMES NUN CUTTING DOWN BRANCHES FROM TREE TO FIGHT FIRE VARIOUS OF NUNS DOUSING FLAMES WITH GARDEN HOSES VARIOUS OF SUPPLY ROOMS OF MONASTERY ON FIRE VARIOUS OF FIREFIGHTERS SCRAMBLING FIRE VARIOUS OF FIREFIGHTERS DOUSING BURNING MONASTERY CLOSE OF BURNING MONASTERY MORE OF FIREFIGHTERS HOSING NUN WITH BRANCH PATTING FLAMES VARIOUS OF NUNS AND LOCAL RESIDENTS FIGHTING FIRE VARIOUS OF FIREFIGHTER WITH HOSE DOUSING FLAMES FIRE ENGINES AND THICK SMOKE IN STREET VARIOUS OF LOCAL RESIDENTS WITH OLIVE BRANCHES FIGHTING FLAMES IN FRONT OF A HOUSE VARIOUS OF BURNING TREES IN KALITECHNOUPOLI ENGULFED IN THICK SMOKE VARIOUS FIREFIGHTING PLANES DROPPING WATER ON SITE
- Embargoed: 9th September 2009 13:00
- Location: Greece
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Nature / Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA8JWYTVSSPT402NZBTX5PFG7NC
- Story Text: Nuns, firefighters and local villagers join forces to battle wildfire at a 10th century monastery near Athens.
Dozens of nuns, locals and firefighters battled wildfire that hit a medieval monastery east of Athens on Monday (August 24) and was burning down parts of the compound after strong winds fanned flames.
The blaze circled the Pantokratoras Monastery, which was founded in the 10th century and is inhabited by at least 25 nuns. It is located in Kalitechnoupoli, a hamlet northeast of Athens and west of the town of Rafina populated by several hundred residents.
Firefighters rushed to the scene in a bid to stop the fire from consuming the compound as well as the residential houses in the hamlet.
The fire destroyed the monastery supply rooms while nuns and locals used garden hoses and tree branches to try to halt the flames.
Thick brown smoke covered the sky as air support swooped in to aid the operation despite difficult visibility and heavy winds.
The Kalitechnoupoli fire was one of the main fronts of the inferno on its fourth day after a fire broke out late on Friday (August 21) in the village of Grammatiko about 40 km (25 miles) northeast of the Greek capital.
The fires had retreated from Athens suburbs by Sunday evening due to firefighters efforts, calmer winds, and little landscape left to burn. However strong winds, picked at night and early morning, were moving at a rapid pace, pushing previously dormant flames.
On Monday, the fire continued to threaten homes and wildlife in different Greek suburbs and villages, forcing thousands to flee. The latest firefighting efforts were reportedly concentrating in north and northeast of Athens.
Greece has been living a nightmare since Friday's fire had spread from Grammatiko to more than 20 kilometres through 10 villages and into the suburbs of Athens, burning scores of homes, fields, farmland and forest.
Despite the efforts of hundreds of firefighters, soldiers, volunteers and residents, as well as fireplanes and helicopters, firemen could not control the blaze due to fierce winds pushing the flames at a rapid pace.
The raging inferno brought back memories of a deadly fire in August 2007 where at least 67 people perished in wildfires in the Peloponnese.
No one has been injured in the Athens fires.
Summer fires are frequent in Greece, often caused by high temperatures and winds, drought or arson. Hundreds of fires across southern Europe in July destroyed thousands of hectares of forest and gutted dozens of homes.
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