December 9, 2023

ATHENS, Greece (Associated Press) – Greek firefighters battled a major forest fire that forced an evacuation of a small village west of Athens, the latest in a series of bushfires that have erupted as strong winds swept through several parts of Greece.

The fire service said more than 130 firefighters and volunteers, aided by 10 water-dropping planes, were battling to contain the blaze that broke out on Tuesday afternoon near the coastal town of Porto Germeno, 70 kilometers (44 miles) west of Athens.

As a precaution, evacuation orders were issued for Miticas village, but there were no reports of injuries or property damage.

Authorities said strong winds, which continued to change direction, were hampering firefighting efforts. The weather service said the winds were expected to slow in the evening.

Fire service personnel were on high alert in several parts of the country on Tuesday, amid the anticipated high risk of wildfires. Two more fires broke out in the southern Peloponnese region. The fire service said it had dealt with more than 300 bushfires over the past week.

Early Tuesday, firefighters were able to control a large fire that threatened a large area of ​​olive groves near the town of Itea, in the plain below the ancient site of Delphi in central Greece and forced some evacuations. About 300 hectares (740 acres) of about 5,500 hectares (13,600 acres) of olive-grown area were burned. The old site was not in danger.

Monday’s fire also forced the evacuation of 73 hotel residents by sea from a beach near Kranidi in the northeastern Peloponnese. There were no reports of injuries.

Greece suffers from devastating wildfires every summer. In 2018, more than 100 people died in a fire in the seaside resort of Mati, east of Athens. Since then, authorities have focused on rapid precautionary evacuations of threatened populated areas.

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