Greeks flee homes as firefighters battle 100 forest fires – Summary

Greeks flee homes as firefighters battle 100 forest fires – Summary

16 July 2008

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Greece — Hundreds of Greeks fled their homes as firefighters, assisted by dozens of planes and helicopters battled to contain forest fires that raged out of control along the outskirts of the Greek capital Athens on Wednesday. More than 50 fire engines and a handful of planes and helicopters were trying to extinguish two large blazes near Athens which were fanned by strong winds and high temperatures.

Firefighting officials said the fire was quickly spreading towards homes in the village of Markopoulo, located approximately 40 kilometres from the capital.

Reports said more than 100 people were evacuated from the village as the flames approached, forcing police to divert traffic to other roads.

Another forest fire which broke out earlier Wednesday near the industrial district of Aspropyros, located just west of Athens, was brought under control after destroying six warehouses.

Officials said more than 100 forest fires were burning across the country on Wednesday, namely in central and northern Greece as well as on the island of Andros.

Greece had to battle hundreds of massive forest fires which broke out in several areas last summer, killing a total of 84 people, including several firefighters.

The most destructive and lethal of the infernos broke out at the end of August in the western and southern Peloponnese as well as the southern island of Evia.

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