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Italian, French aircraft to join Greek fire effort

Last Updated: Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 14:07

Athens: Greece has requested assistance from Italy and France to combat a forest wildfire raging out of control on the outskirts of Athens for a second straight day, the fire department said on Sunday.
"Two fire-fighting aircraft from Italy and one from France will be coming today," a fire department spokeswoman said.

Nearly 400 firefighters struggled on Sunday to contain the wildfire that is feared to have damaged or destroyed scores of rural and summer homes on the eastern outskirts of the Greek capital and further north after surging across a 30-kilometre (18-mile) front on Saturday.

Fanned by strong winds, the fire is threatening homes in the suburbs of Anthousa and Pallini.

"We face a great ordeal," Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said in a statement late Saturday after visiting the fire department operations centre, adding that fire crews were mounting a "superhuman" effort.

The blaze evoked memories of a 2007 wave of wildfires that killed 77 people and destroyed thousands of hectares (acres) of forest across the country.

No casualties have been reported so far from the fire which broke out late on Friday near an area earmarked for a waste disposal facility

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 14:07

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