Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 16:08 UK

Firefighters battle Greek blazes

Fires near the village of Oinoi, in Viotia region, central Greece
Forest fires in Greece raise fears of a repeat of last summer's inferno

Dozens of Greek villagers have fled from their homes as firefighters battle forest blazes fanned by strong winds south-east of the capital, Athens.

Planes and helicopters dropped water on the fires which started in the village of Markopoulo, some 40km (25 miles) from the capital.

Some 50 villagers were evacuated by local authorities.

Forest fires were also reported to be burning on the islands of Kefalonia and Andros.

"Things are getting worse at Markopoulo and we have reports of one or two houses being damaged," a fire department official told Reuters.

Last year, at least 65 were killed during wildfires in southern Greece triggered by high temperatures, which destroyed 270,000 hectares (666,000 acres) of forest and farmland.

Green campaigners have accused the Greek conservative government of failing to take sufficient steps to avoid another disaster this year.

Firefighters also managed to put out a warehouse blaze that started overnight in the industrial area of Aspropyrgos, on the outskirts of Athens. At least three factories and warehouses were destroyed in the fire.

Officials said at least 100 separate fires were burning across the country, with blazes concentrated in the central and northern areas of the country, as well as the island of Andros.

Wildfires rage on across Greece
28 Aug 07 |  Europe
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