The heroic work of Polish firefighters has saved the town of Villa Attica from the fires currently ravaging Greece.
The firefighting operation lasted from Wednesday afternoon until the late hours of the night and into Thursday, said brigadier Michał Langner, commander of the Polish firefighters in Greece.
“The situation was very difficult. The wind shifted from a western direction to a southern one, and the wildfire’s front moved to the town of Villa Attica, west of Athens. The majority of our regiments worked to defend the town. Their goal was to ensure that the fire would not reach buildings,” he explained.
Langner added that together with Greek firefighters, the Poles stopped the wildfire right before the town. Following a full night spent trying to extinguish the fire, the situation now appears to be under control.
He underscored that the wildfire is currently expanding to the south of the country in the direction of the Saronic Gulf. “We have constructed a defensive belt with the Greeks over there, which is meant to secure the area from the fire getting through,” he said.
Langner noted that the good news was that the wind would only be blowing at around 12 to 15 meters per second during the upcoming days, which is not a dramatic figure. The temperature remains above 30 degrees Celsius, however.
The Polish State Fire Service posted a short report on social media about the activity of Polish firefighters.
“We are carefully considering how to prepare for our return. We will help extinguish the current fires and transfer our sectors to Greek firefighters. They will have to supervise the region for the next few weeks. Ultimately, the fire burnt out large tracts of the forest and now has nothing to ignite off of,” Langner said.
On Thursday evening, Greek and Polish prime ministers stated that the mission of the Polish firefighters in Greece has been extended for another two weeks.
A team of 143 Polish firefighters along with 46 vehicles travelled to Greece on Aug. 7. Their goal was to support Greek services in combating the wildfires raging across the country.
Title image: Polish firefighter fighting fires in Greece. (source: TT/National Fire Service, Piotr Zwarycz)