Serbia Helps Fight Fires in Greece

Serbia has sent 40 firefighters to help their colleagues extinguish a fire which broke out near the Serbian Orthodox monastery of Hilandar.Scorching summer heat and high winds caused blazes on the Greek Mount Athos in northern Greece on Thursday.

The fire broke out on Wednesday afternoon in the vicinity of the Serbian Orthodox Hilandar Monastery, which was founded in 1198 by the first Serbian Archbishop Saint Sava and his father, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja of the medieval Serbian principality of Raska.About 25 firefighting units had been deployed against the wildfire in the area.

According to local media, water-dropping aircraft were being used against the blaze on the Mount Athos peninsula.

Later on Thursday, more than 40 Serbian firefighters set out for Greece to help their colleagues extinguish the fire, said Srdjan Nikolic, Commander of the City of Nis Fire and Rescue Brigade.

“Nis sent 12 firefighters in two vehicles,” Nikolic told Serbian news agency Tanjug.
Mount Athos is famed for its many Orthodox Christian monasteries, with admission to the large part of the peninsula held by the church restricted to men.

In March 2004, a devastating fire broke out at the Hilandar monastery, destroying some 50 per cent of the walled complex. The blaze damaged the northern half of the complex but the monastery’s many historic icons and the library were saved.

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