Wildfire rages near Athens as hundreds evacuated
Hundreds of firefighters on Wednesday battled a wildfire that raged for a second day in mountains near Athens, burning homes and cars and forcing the evacuation of at least nine settlements and a hospital.
The wildfire broke out around 1430 GMT on Tuesday, some 27 km (16 miles) north of the capital and was still burning on several fronts. The billowing smoke was visible from the island of Evia some 50 km away.
Ambulances took other three people to hospital with respiratory problems and slight burns, authorities said.
About 485 firefighters and 120 fire engines were deployed to contain the blaze. Nine aircraft and 10 helicopters were dumping water on the flames on Wednesday.
“There are a number of destroyed homes and businesses. We will have a clearer count tomorrow,” Thanasis Zoutsos, the mayor of Pallini, on the outskirts of Athens told state ERT TV.
Authorities had ordered the evacuation of nine districts, including Pallini and Gerakas. One hospital and the National Observatory of Athens were also evacuated as police helped at least 600 people flee fire-stricken areas.
Last year, wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heat wave in 30 years.