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Greece hopes to bring wildfires under control

Extreme heatwave conditions in the country

04 August, 12:43
(ANSA-AFP) - VARYPOMPI, AUG 4 - Greek firefighters said Wednesday that they hope to bring a forest fire blazing near Athens under control "in the coming hours". "The situation has improved and we hope to bring the fire under control in the coming hours," the fire service said in a statement. More than 500 firefighters, a dozen water-bombing planes and five helicopters have been battling the blazes outside the capital since Tuesday afternoon. Around a dozen houses have been destroyed in the flames, and dozens of businesses, bars and holiday accommodation have been severely damaged in Varympompi, 30 kilometres (20 miles) northwest of Athens, officials said.

Villages have been evacuated and part of a major motorway linking the capital with the north and south of the country was cut for safety reasons. With the country reeling under a severe heatwave, the blaze spread at the foot of Mount Parnith, sending thick smoke over the capital. Local media reported dozens of children had been rescued from a holiday camp near the Athens suburb of Varympompi. "We are facing a difficult fire in extreme heatwave conditions," said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who went to Varympompi during the morning. (ANSA-AFP).

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