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Athens covered in smoke as fire crews fight to keep wildfires at bay

A large wildfire blown by strong winds destroyed areas of forest on the Greek island of Evia on Tuesday morning, and Greek authorities are now preparing to evacuate surrounding villages.

Numerous Greek regions are on high alert, with the General Secretariat for Civil Protection banning all activity in national parks, forests and “vulnerable” areas.

On Evia, the country’s second-largest island, more than 120 firefighters are trying put out the fire aided by helicopters and other aircraft.

No injuries have been reported at this stage, and the strong winds are expected to subside, a fire brigade official said.

The smoke fogs the horizon in Evia

In the last three days fire crews have been called to put out 182 fires. Greece is often faced with wildfires in the dry summer months, just last year a wildfire killed 100 people in Mati, Athens. In 2007 devastating fires killed 65, scorched thousands of hectares of forest and farmland and threatened archaeological sites.

The fire generated thick smoke that blanketed Athens some 110 kilometres (70 miles) away from Evia.

The risk of the flames spreading will continue to stay at a critical level, especially in Attica, Eastern Sterea, Euboea, the Northeast Peloponnese, Thrace and the islands of the Eastern Aegean.

Very high temperatures are expected to continue throughout the country, authorities have confirmed.|euronews-Joseph Macey

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