Greece: Wildfire rages around Athens

Greece: Wildfire rages around Athens
Greece: Wildfire rages around Athens

The area north of the Greek capital Athens has been hit by a wildfire, and temperatures are expected to reach 40C in the next few days.

A fire swept through the pine forest, destroying homes before firefighters took control on Tuesday. Fires were also recorded in Italy and Spain.

Residents of the Samantha area, 30 kilometers north of Athens, were evacuated. Others were warned to keep doors and windows closed. Smoke from the fire was seen over Athens, limiting visibility in parts of the capital. Airplanes and helicopters dropping water helped 300 firefighters to contain the fire.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but an investigation is currently underway. Several areas of Greece are on high alert due to fires. Fires were also reported on the Italian island of Sardinia and in Spanish Catalonia.

Catalonia was hit by the worst wildfire in two years over the weekend. The rain on Monday helped firefighters take control of most of the fire, but by then it had burned more than 1,657 hectares (4,094 acres) of land.

In Sardinia, several wildfires have engulfed the southwest of the island and over 1,000 people have been evacuated. On Sunday, the European Union announced that it is sending four firefighting planes to the island at the request of the Italian authorities.

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