Sunday, June 14, 2009

Greece suffers summer fires

Firefighters are battling wildfires in the centre of Greece that have burnt through forest, farmland and vineyards and threatened homes. The outbreak on Saturday, several kilometres from the city of Thebes, is being fought on four fronts and caused black smoke to be seen in the sky for miles. Farmers and residents were told to evacuate the area, although no casualties were immediately reported. The fires were pushed towards the town of Ritsona, north of Athens, the capital, by strong winds. Police have closed part of a highway leading to Athens.
It is the first fire in Greece this summer and broke out after temperatures reached 30 degrees Celsius. Two years ago the country suffered some of its worst fires in decades, in which at least 67 people were killed and scores of homes were destroyed.