Forest fire damages homes, forces evacuations near Athens

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Authorities are counting the toll after a wildfire swept through a pine forest north of Athens on Tuesday. 

The fire has run up damages in the area, forced evacuations, and blanketed Athens in smoke before firefighting personnel was able to bring it under control. 

“It was a difficult and dangerous fire,” Civil Protection chief Nikos Hardalias said.

“Fire crews had to operate between inhabited areas and between homes … The fire is currently receding, but is still burning at several different sites.”

(Source: Skai.gr)

Over 300 firefighters were joined by eight water-dropping planes and twelve helicopters to help extinguish the blaze.  

A lull in wind conditions also helped contain the fire on Tuesday. 

Residents in the Stamata area – 30km north of Athens – received cellphone alerts and were urged to keep doors and windows closed to shut out smoke and prevent sparks before they were evacuated. 

The cause of the fire isn’t clear but local reports of arson are being investigated, authorities say. 

The fire department is currently on high alert in several parts of Greece with temperatures set to soar to 43 degrees Celsius in central Greece in the next few days. 

Source: Ekathimerini

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