Large fire blazing near Athens

ATHENS (AFP) – More than 160 firefighters yesterday battled to contain a large fire near Athens blazing for a second day amid gale force winds, officials said.

And in another emergency, authorities evacuated dozens of people from two villages and a hotel on the island of Zakynthos after a new fire broke out yesterday.

The fire department said the blaze near Athens burned in the mountains above Loutraki, a coastal resort some 60 kilometres 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.