As the southern half of the country continues to experience very arid and hot daytime conditions, exacerbated by strong winds, new blazes and active fire fronts are being reported, with the most unusual incident reported as the cause of the Hydra wildfire.

The fire brigade and civil protection forces are on high alert due to high-risk forecasts for Saturday. Civil protection authorities announced a Level 4 Fire Risk forecast (very high) for the prefectures of Corinth, Argolida, Evia (Euboea) and Viotia (Boeotia), according to a fire risk assessment map.

One of yesterday’s most persistent wildfires, at the Mastrantoni site in the Achaia prefecture (northestern Peloponnese), which started burning after nightfall on Friday, is currently reported to be under control, according to the fire brigade.

However, scattered flare-ups are reported across a handful of villages in Ilia prefecture (western Peloponnese), where 154 firefighters are operating, along with 56 vehicles, local volunteers, machinery from local municipalities, as well as seven aircraft. Residents have been alerted by emergency 112 SMS messages urging them to evacuate their homes.

Hydra Wildfire

Another serious blaze spotted yesterday near the eastern Peloponnese coastal town of Kranidi, near the upscale Porto Heli resort, is currently held under control. However, 57 firefighters with 15 vehicles remain at the area.

Allegations of fireworks causing Hydra wildfire

Another wildfire burning Hydra’s sole pine forest was reported in the late hours of Friday. Latest information suggests that fireworks were launched from a hired mega-yacht and started the blaze in a remote spot of the more-or-less rock island, far from any road access.

Hydra Mayor Giorgos Koukoudakis told a local Athens television channel that a volunteer fire unit rushed to the inaccessible spot by boat – despite rough seas – and that additional aerial assistance reached the site in the early morning hours.

Koukoudakis expressed outrage what he described as a reckless incident and confirmed that an investigation is underway.

He stated that he would pursue legal action against the passengers of the pleasure craft if the claims are confirmed. Specifically he emphasized that “in collaboration with the municipality’s legal advisors, I will do whatever is necessary to defend the interests of Hydra and the island’s natural environment. I am truly outraged at the mere thought that some reckless individuals, hidden at the edge of the island where no one can see them, acted in such an irresponsible manner.”

Unconfirmed media reports have a specific vessel now under scrutiny as leased by a holiday-maker from Kazakhstan.

The wildfire is reported to be under control.

(Photos from Ilia wildfires on June 21):