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Villages evacuated on Greek island as crews battle wildfires

World News | Published:

Smoke from a fire on the island of Evia blanketed the capital city, Athens.

Hundreds of firefighters battled three wildfires in Greece, where two villages were being evacuated as the largest blaze burned a thickly forested nature reserve on the island of Evia north of Athens.

More than 220 firefighters were deployed to tackle the Evia fire, along with six water-dropping planes and six helicopters.

Access to the pine forest by land was difficult, and an additional helicopter was sent to the area to coordinate the air support.

Smoke from the fire blanketed the Greek capital.

APTOPOX Greece Wildfires
A huge cloud of smoke rise from a forest fire at Psachna village (Yorgos Karahalis/AP)

Dozens more firefighters, two planes and a helicopter tackled a separate forest fire on the northern island of Thassos.

A third wildfire was burning through brush and dried weeds near Thebes, northwest of Athens.

Forest fires are common in Greece during the hot, dry summer months.

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Greece Wildfires
A cloud of smoke rises from a nearby forest fire at Psachna village (Yorgos Karahalis/AP)

Parks and forest areas have been closed to the public at times of high fire risk.

Last year, more than 100 people died when a fast-moving forest fire broke out in a seaside area northeast of Athens and raged through a nearby settlement of mainly holiday homes.

The fire trapped people in their cars as they attempted to flee, while many other victims drowned as they tried to swim away from beaches overcome by heat and choking smoke.

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