Wildfire triggers Athens blackout

Wildfire triggers Athens blackout

25 June 2008

published by http://news.bbc.co.uk

Greece — A large forest fire on the outskirts of the Greek capital, Athens,has caused power cuts and sent smoke billowing over the city.

The fire started in Glyka Nera, some 12 miles (20km) east of Athens. Reportssay it is moving away from the city.

Fire officials say the blaze, which is not threatening residential areas, isbeing tackled by 20 fire engines, 89 firemen and eight waterbombers.

Last year at least 65 were killed during wildfires in southern Greece.

Wednesday’s fire damaged a major powerline, causing energy shortages for morethan an hour in the centre of Athens.

The Greek fire service said it would send in additional planes andhelicopters if needed.

“This is a tough day for us. The fire is burning through dense forestand the prevailing winds are strong,” said spokesman Yiannis Kapakis.

Wind speed in the area is said to have reached 40km/h (25mph).

He said fires were also raging on the nearby island of Aegina and at AgiosStephanos, north of the capital.

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