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article imageFirefighters contain major blaze near Athens

By AFP     Aug 12, 2019 in Environment

Greek firefighters on Monday brought under control a major forest fire that was threatening homes on the outskirts of Athens, officials said.

At least two houses were burned but there were no reports of injuries as police quickly evacuated the area and blocked roads.

"Two homes were burned but nobody was inside...for now no residential areas are in danger," greater Athens deputy regional governor Petros Filippou told reporters.

The civil protection authority said the blaze started around three am (0000 GMT) in the eastern suburb of Peania, in the pine-forested foothills of Mount Ymittos.

"It was a huge fire with flames around 20 metres (60 feet) high, near homes," civil protection chief Nikos Hardalias told Antenna TV.

Over 130 firemen were dispatched to the scene to stop the fire spreading to heavily inhabited areas nearby.

Fire-bombing aircraft joined the operation at first light.

Greece has been hit by a spate of wildfires since the weekend amid gale-force winds and temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 F).

On Sunday, a fire on the small island of Elafonissos,in the Peloponnese region was brought under control after a two-day battle.

It was estimated to have burned a quarter of the island, forcing authorities to evacuate a campsite and hotel.

A fire on the island of Elafonissos  in the Peloponnese region was brought under control after a two...
A fire on the island of Elafonissos, in the Peloponnese region was brought under control after a two-day battle

Two more fires were doused on Saturday in Marathon, close to Mati, the coastal resort where last year 102 people died in Greece's worst fire disaster.

Emergency services had been placed on high alert since Friday, with Hardalias noting it was the first time since 2012 the country had faced such a dangerous mix of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity.

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