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Greece seeks EU help as wildfires rage

ქეთი ჩოხელი
journalist
Publish Time 2017-08-16 12:13:00

Firefighters battled wildfires raging northeast of Athens for a third day on Tuesday as Greece asked for help from its European partners to prevent them from spreading, Reuters reported. 

The fire started in Kalamos, a coastal holiday spot some 45 km (30 miles) northeast of the capital, and has spread to three more towns, damaging dozens of homes and burning thousands of hectares of pine forest. A state of emergency has been declared in the area. "The blaze is advancing with great speed. Because of the scale and intensity of the wildfires, the country submitted a request for aerial means," fire brigade spokeswoman Stavroula Maliri told a press briefing.

Cyprus offered a group of 60 firefighters and a Greek air force plane was headed there to pick them up. But a request for two pairs of CL-415 firefighting aircraft was turned down by France as it had to deal with its own wildfires, she said.

Three firefighting planes and six water-throwing helicopters operated through the day, assisting 210 firefighters and about 100 military personnel battling the blaze on the ground near the town of Kapandriti.

Rugged terrain dotted with small communities made the fire-fighting difficult, with winds rekindling the blaze at many spots. Thick, billowing smoke rendered operations from the air difficult.

Across Greece, firefighters were battling more than 55 forest fires, an outbreak fed by dry winds and hot weather that fanned blazes in the Peloponnese and on the Ionian islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia.



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