Large forest fire blazing near Athens

Athens, Sept 15 (AFP/APP):A force of over 160 firefighters on Sunday battled to contain a large fire near Athens blazing for a second day amid gale force winds, officials said.

The fire department said the blaze burned in the mountains above Loutraki, a coastal resort some 62 kilometres (39 miles) west of Athens.

“The fire is burning near the top of the mountain,” Stefanos Kolokouris, the fire department’s deputy chief of operations, told state TV ERT.

“We are trying to create a perimeter but the terrain is very difficult, with ravines,” he said.
Four water bombers and six helicopters were participating in operations. Given a lack of roads in the area, two squads of firefighters had to be carried to the mountaintop by Super Puma helicopter, state agency ANA said.

Officials had already evacuated 50 people from a local monastery when the fire broke out on Saturday, but stressed that other inhabited areas were not in danger.

The Greek fire department on Sunday said it had been called to nearly 80 fires over the past 24 hours.
It has already faced over 9,600 rural and urban fires this year.

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