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'Out of control': Greek wildfire rages through forest near Athens

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By Euronews with AP, AFP
Firefighters battle a wildfire in Dionysos, north east of Athens, on July 27, 2021.
Firefighters battle a wildfire in Dionysos, north east of Athens, on July 27, 2021.   -   Copyright  LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP
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Greek authorities have evacuated several areas north of Athens as a wildfire swept through a hillside forest and threatened homes near the country's capital.

The fire, which started on Tuesday morning, is "out of control," Dionysos mayor Yannis Kalafatelis told Greek radio.

The town located about 30 kilometres northeast of Athens is among those affected, along with neighbouring Stamata and Rodopoli.

74 firefighters were deployed on the ground to try and contain the fire, which sent smoke over Athens.

Five water-dropping planes and five helicopters were being used to fight the blaze.

Firefighters said strong winds blowing at 38 kilometres per hour were making their job a lot more difficult.

Residents in the area received cellphone alerts and were being urged to keep doors and windows closed to avoid exposure to smoke and prevent hazardous sparks from blowing inside homes.

Firefighters spokesman Vassilis Vathrakoyannis told Skaï TV that "no one was in danger."

Traffic was interrupted on several roads.

Due to a combination of hot weather and strong winds, Greek forests are frequently ravaged by wildfires in the summer.

In July 2018, 102 people were killed in the coastal town of Mati, near Athens, in what became the deadliest fire in the country.