Forest Fire Tears Across City Suburbs

Forest Fire Tears Across City Suburbs

17 August 2007

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A forest fire has been raging on the outskirts of Athens, forcing terrified residents to flee their homes as the blaze closes in.
Running from fire at end of the street

The flames have been whipped into a several-mile-long inferno by strong winds and the fire has destroyed homes and cut off power to parts of the Greek capital.

The amount of acrid smoke belching over the city blocked out the sun while the black pall could be seen as far away as the islands off the coast.

It has left many houses in the affluent suburn of Nea Penteli in ruins and people in the area have told Greek television that there is no sign of the fire stopping.

Fire brigade spokesman Evangelos Falaras told reporters: “We are mainly battling it on the ground because airplanes and helicopters cannot drop water to the core of the fire because of winds and the thick smoke.”
The fire has blocked out the Sun

He added that the fire had started in forest surrounding the capital and had been burning through pine trees and low vegetation before reaching built-up areas.

Hundreds of volunteers and residents have been helping to fight flames and authorities have been criticised for a slow response.

Greece has seen some of the worst fires of the last decade this summer, triggered by record-high temperatures, drought and arsonists.

The Penteli area, once a lush pine forest, was twice torched by arsonists in the mid-1990s.

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