Greek forest fire rages near Athens
Athens: A large forest fire raged out of control on the northern outskirts of Athens on Saturday, sending thick clouds of smoke over the Greek capital as it burned homes and threatened three villages.
Fanned by strong winds, the fire broke out late Friday and spread to residential areas overnight, the fire brigade said. At least two homes were engulfed, a police source said.
Six airplanes, five helicopters, 35 fire engines and 150 firefighters were deployed to battle the flames.
Gale-force winds fanned more than 100 blazes across Greece in less than 24 hours on Friday. Another fire raged on the island of Zakynthos, in western Greece, without threatening homes, the fire brigade said.
Wildfires are frequent in Greece during the summer, often caused by high temperatures, drought or arson. Hundreds of fires raged across southern Europe in July, destroying thousands of hectares of forest and gutting dozens of homes.
Greece saw its deadliest wildfires in memory in 2007, when blazes on the island of Evia and the southern Peloponnese peninsula raged for more than 10 days, killing 65 people.