Large wildfires burning near Athens

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 17, 2015 7:14 AM

ATHENS (Reuters) - Smoke from wildfires billowed over Athens on Friday as fires fanned by strong winds and high temperatures burned through woodland around the Greek capital, forcing residents to flee their houses.

Dozens of firefighters with 10 fire engines battled the flames. Sor far, no one has been reported injured, fire brigade officials said.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was briefed by officials at the defense ministry about the fires.

Separately, wildfires burned through rural land in the region of Laconia in the Peloponnese, forcing one fire-fighting aircraft into an emergency landing, defense ministry officials said.

Forest fires are common during the summer months in Greece. They caused huge damage and heavy loss of life in 2007.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris, editing by Larry King)