[QODLink]
Weather
Wildfires provide latest Greek tragedy
Soldiers and water-dropping aircraft deployed to help firefighters, as wildfires flare near Athens.
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2012 11:21

Firemen tackle a blaze in the eastern Athens area of Keratea. Strong winds are pushing the flames towards residential areas. [AFP]

As voters in Greece go to the polls to determine whether they stay in the eurozone, blazes are being fought around the capital. A number of wildfires have broken out around Athens during the last two days and dozens of people have been evacuated.

The first fire broke out near the town of Keratea, 50km to the south of Athens on Saturday. It is thought to have started accidently at a construction site during welding work. Four people have been arrested. Several houses have been damaged and many more still remain at risk.

More than 150 firefighters and soldiers using over 60 vehicles are still battling the blaze, along with a number of water dropping aircraft. Greece has requested help from Italy, France and Croatia in the form of firefighting planes.

So far, three firefighters have been injured, but there are not thought to have been any civilian casualties. According to authorities, an old peoples’ home was evacuated and its 42 residents have been moved to a nearby resort.

At least three smaller fires have also flared up. One is in the district of Pallini, just to the east of Athens. Two others broke out in the northwest and southeastern corners of the southern Greek Peloponnese peninsula.

The weather remains hot, dry and gusty, and although the temperature has dropped recently, the winds continue to touch gale force at times. Gusts of up to 70kph have been fanning those flames. As a result warnings remain in place and there is no sign of any useful rain in the forecast over the next few days.

296

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.