ATHENS, Greece (AP) — More than 250 firefighters were struggling overnight to contain a large wildfire fanned by strong winds that raged through forests and forced the evacuation of six settlements in southern Greece.
State TV said more than 4,000 people were evacuated. No injuries were reported, and the extent of any property damage was not immediately clear.
The Fire Brigade said 10 water-dropping helicopters and seven planes were deployed Wednesday to assist with the ground operation in an area inland from the seaside settlement of Kechries near the town of Corinth in the Peloponnese region, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Athens.
But the aircraft were forced to cease flying after nightfall.
Three villages, three smaller settlements and a summer camp were evacuated as a precaution. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene from other parts of Greece, and local volunteers as well as heavy machinery provided by the army and regional authorities were helping in the effort.
Firefighters also battled smaller blazes near ancient Olympia, the western Peloponnese birthplace of the sporting competition that inspired the Olympic Games, near Petalidi further south and on the southern island of Crete. The blazes at Ancient Olympia and on Crete were under partial control by early Thursday, the Fire Brigade said.
Wildfires are common during Greece’s hot, arid summers. Massive blazes in 2007 killed about 80 people in southern and central Greece.
The Fire Brigade said Wednesday evening that a total 57 forest fires broke out in 24 hours, most of which were quickly extinguished.