Forest fires rage through Greek island

Forest fires rage through Greek island

27 July 2008

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Greece — More than 2000 tourists have been evacuated from hotels on the Greek island of Rhodes as forest fires raged for a fourth day.

Authorities said the measure was taken as a precaution and affected hotels in the Asklipios area, near the south-east coast of the island. Rhodes is popular with British and other European holiday makers.

The fires have destroyed thousands of hectares of dense pine forest, helped by strong winds, and came within a few metres of village homes in the centre of the island. France, Italy and Cyprus have sent firefighting aircraft to help tackle the fires.

On Friday, a blaze in southern Greece prompted authorities to close a busy highway linking Athens to the western port of Patras for several hours.

Rail services in the area were also interrupted.

Three planes and three helicopters battled a fire at Mandra, west of Athens.

More than 70 people were killed in devastating Greek fires last year.

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