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Society

Greek Firefighters Battle Major Wildfires near Athens

September 9, 2020

ATHENS — Greek firefighters backed by water-dropping aircraft battled a string of wildfires near Athens and in other parts of the country Wednesday while strong winds that whipped up the flames hampered their efforts.

No injuries were reported. A photographer for The Associated Press saw at least two homes damaged by the worst blaze in an area with several scattered vacation houses near Kalyvia, southeast of the Greek capital.

Residents in some nearby areas were notified to evacuate their homes and head to beaches as a precaution. Authorities closed off main roads leading to the archaeological site of Sounio.

The fire service said about 180 firefighters were trying to contain the wildfire raging through forest, olive groves, scrub and vineyards in the Feriza area near Kalyvia, assisted by eight water-dropping helicopters and five planes, as well as local volunteers.

Other wildfires were burning near Nea Makri, a seaside resort east of Athens, on the islands of Andros, Thassos and Crete, and in two locations in the southern Peloponnese region.

Wildfires are common during Greece's hot, arid summers. In 2018, a major blaze that swept through the Mati resort, a short distance south of Nea Makri, caused 102 deaths.

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