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Greece: Tourists Evacuated from Ancient Olympia as Fire Spreads

ATHENS — Ancient Olympia residents including tourists in hotels are fully evacuated, while firefighters are trying to put out a fire 2 km from the ancient site, Deputy Mayor Haris Spiliopoulos told Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Wednesday evening.

The entire municipality is on alert while another fire front is "approaching the nearby communities," he said. Eight of them have already been evacuated, while a section of the Tripolis-Pyrgos highway is blocked to traffic.

Civil Protection Minister Michalis Chryssochoidis and Culture Minister Lina Mendoni are in the municipality, which includes the ancient precinct and the site of the first Olympic Games.

Earlier today, the municipality of Ancient Olympia, in NW Peloponnese, which includes the original site of the Olympic Games, was ordered to evacuate for precautionary reasons due to a fire in nearby Iraklia.

The community of Miraka was also evacuated due to a fire, the Fire Brigade reported.

The situation there is "very difficult," Ilia Region Vice-Governor Vassilis Giannopoulos told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA).

Authorities have so far evacuated another 8 villages in the municipality of Ancient Olympia: Pelopion, Platanos, Kafkania, Iraklia, Pournari, Koskina, Magiro, and Kladeo.

At Iraklia, some 95 firefighters and 31 fire engines with 4 ground teams are battling the blaze, assisted by 4 aircraft and 2 helicopters.

Traffic is banned on the Tripoli-Pyrgos national highway from the 124th km to the 130th km, police added.

The European Union promised assistance Wednesday to Greece and other countries in southeast Europe grappling with huge wildfires after a blaze gutted or damaged more than 100 homes and businesses near Athens.

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