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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
In pictures: Athens suburbs fire

Flames raging towards a house

The northern suburbs of the Greek capital, Athens, have been hit by devastating forest fires.

Flames sweeping down mountainside towards a church

Flames swept down from Penteli mountain towards residential areas below.

Man dousing flames with hose

The flames, fanned by very high winds, raged out of control.

Smoke over Penteli mountain, Greece

The enormous fire, which officials say may have been the work of arsonists, cast a pall of smoke over the entire area.

Boy carrying box

Residents were forced to pack up as many belongings as they could carry and flee.

Local residents hosing flames

Some did stay behind to try to save their homes.

Firefighter shouting to other crews

Penteli Mayor Dimitris Stergiou joined in the effort to get hundreds of firefighters into position.

Man hosing down burned building

However, there have been complaints that help arrived too late - with the high winds preventing water-dropping planes from arriving on scene for nearly two hours.

Man surveys burned field

A state of emergency has now been declared in the districts of Melisia, Vrilisia and Penteli.

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