NewsWorldGreek firefighters battle growing forest blaze near Athens

Greek firefighters battle growing forest blaze near Athens

Greek fire-fighters on Wednesday (August 18) battled a wildfire raging through one of the last remaining pine forests near Athens as it reached dangerously close to homes.

The village of Vilia, about 50 kilometres northwest of Athens, and another six villages, were evacuated, along with a nursing home, as the fire reached the road towards Vilia and encircled the village. More than 400 fire-fighters, including 143 from Poland, along with volunteers battled the blaze.

The fire, fanned by strong winds, started on Monday, but had seemed under control.

“We watched as it all burned…and there was no one, no one here, no one to warn the citizens here…and they (citizens) were running, they were running,” said Lisa, who has a summer home in Vilia.

Fire-fighters could be seen scrambling to stop a fire from engulfing one house. It was not clear if any homes were damaged in the blaze.

The fire gave the moon an orange hue as helicopters continued to pour water on the flames even as night fell.

Police said some villagers stayed to take part in the effort in order to save their properties.

More than 500 wildfires have broken out in recent weeks across the country, ravaging swathes of forest and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

Greece has seen some of its highest temperatures in decades and prolonged heatwaves this summer.

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