Hell of Fire Greece: We saved our dogs

Evia (Greece) – Twelve dogs pant on the stone beach of Pefki on the island of Evia. The land behind them smokes from the fires that have ravaged the island for days.

Rula (55) fled from nearby Artemisio to the beach, she owns seven of the animals – Misa, Teddy, Goliath, Mevrolina, Dolly, Artudos and the weak-hearted Patti.

In the past few days she took five into her care, dogs running freely, some of which were injured by the fire. Anna (55) helps her. “My village burned down last night, the flames licked my house, but luckily farmers were able to save it,” says Anna. “Fortunately, these farmers did not follow the authorities’ request to evacuate.”

Three sick street dogs are in cages, the leashes are insufficient, otherwise they could bite the others. Rula, her son Spiros (25) and his girlfriend Evi (15) keep running laps, sprinkling their four-legged friends with water.

This is how the dogs live on Pefki BeachPhoto: Giorgos Moutafis

Then Rula suddenly begins to sob loudly, to pull her hair. Somebody just told her on the phone that the wind had rekindled the flames in her village. Their daughter Eva (25) runs off to see what is wrong with the family home.

“I can’t go on”, Rula keeps saying. Her son Spiros hugs her, tries to calm her down. The family has been living with the animals on the stone beach since Thursday. Everyone is at the end of their tether.

Spiros (26) and Evi (15) try to calm Rula (55) down

Spiros (26) and Evi (15) try to calm Rula (55) downPhoto: Giorgos Moutafis

A little hope

But there are also stories of hope after the inferno. Maria (70) is standing in the front yard of her house and is happy. Only 20 meters further on, the flames have eaten their way to the foundations of the neighboring house.

“The house is in the middle of the forest, the sparks spread, I feel so sorry for the owners,” she says. “When the fire came to us, three fire brigade trains with volunteers rushed out. Because journalists filmed the whole thing, even more were sent. “

Maria (70) in front of her rescued house

Maria (70) in front of her rescued housePhoto: Giorgos Moutafis

Maria's neighbors' house did not survive the fire

Maria’s neighbors’ house did not survive the firePhoto: Giorgos Moutafis

In view of the inferno that hit the towns of Gouves and Pefki on Sunday, it is a small miracle how many houses survived it in the end. And that no one has died yet.

A German pensioner couple who own a house in Gouves and who have escaped to the beach with a caravan are incredibly relieved.

“It really is like a miracle. All the trees around the houses were burned, but with us even the parasol survived the whole thing. Neighbors said helicopters came at the last moment and deliberately dropped depth charges on the roofs, ”says the man.

“We were sitting here on the beach yesterday and had already written the whole thing off,” says his wife.

There had been apocalyptic scenes in the port of Pefki on Sunday evening. While a 15 meter high conifer was burning brightly and the dry grass in front of it too, a 70-year-old man hit the flames with a branch full of leaves. And so saved his property.

In the afternoon Eva comes back to the dog beach with good news. The family house survived. For the time being.

The flames ate their way to the houses on Sunday

The flames ate their way to the houses on SundayPhoto: Giorgos Moutafis

“It’s like a thriller”

They don’t know how long Rula and the others will have to live with the animals here. Anna says: “The fire keeps coming back. It’s like a thriller. As if it laughs at us. ”

Every few hours two fire-fighting planes draw water from the sea. With their burden they fly to the flames. Far too little water for all the embers.

Then in the late afternoon the helicopters that saved the house of the Germans come again. Busy like bees, they suck seawater into their stomachs through a long trunk and fly into the flames. In the village of Gouves, which was surrounded by a fire roller on Sunday, 100 Ukrainian firefighters were stationed and extinguished in the area all day.

A fire-fighting helicopter sucks water from the sea off Euvia

A fire-fighting helicopter sucks water from the sea off EuboeaPhoto: Fabian Matzerath

219 forest fire fighters from Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia are on their way to Greece with 67 vehicles. The first units are due to arrive in Patras on Tuesday lunchtime, and more on Thursday in Athens. You are urgently needed.

Because there is a fire like in all of southern Europe in many regions of Greece. It is not yet clear whether the German helpers will end up in Euboea.


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