Smoke From Greek Island Ravaged By Wildfires Reaches Athens

Athens covered in smoke as fire crews fight to keep wildfires at bay

Wildfire rages on Greek island of Evia, smoke reaches Athens

"Conditions are exceptionally hard and the state's first priority is to protect lives", Kyriakos Mitsotakis told reporters outside the fire department's centre of operations, after cutting short a vacation on his home island of Crete.

Hundreds of villagers were evacuated yesterday and the Greek prime minister cancelled a vacation as scores of firefighters battled a major wildfire on the country's second-largest island of Evia, authorities said.

Reports said that Greece has requested assistance from the European Union's civil protection agency.

Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos arrived at Psahna where the residents of the four evacuated villages were taken, to meet with officials and assess the situation.

Over 200 firefighters were fighting the blaze backed by 75 fire trucks, five water-bombing helicopters and six planes on an 11km front. A volunteer firefighter reportedly burned on the island was transported to a hospital in Athens.

In the last three days fire crews have been called to put out 182 fires.

Dozens more firefighters were tackling a forest fire on the northern island of Thassos. Another wildfire was burning through brush and dried weeds near Thebes, northwest of Athens.

According to local media, the fire service was alerted after 3:00 am local time of a fire in the area of Agrilitsa, in the municipality of Dirfys-Messapia, and sent 80 firefighters with 39 fire engines to the area, assisted by aircrafts and helicopters. On Tuesday afternoon, an additional blaze broke out in southern Greece.

Greece often faces wildfires during its dry summer months, and authorities have warned of the high risk of blazes this week.

Smoke from the fire blanketed the Greek capital in the morning.

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.

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