Blaze threatens homes on Mount Hymettus

Smoke from wildfires billowed over Athens on Friday as fires fanned by strong winds and high temperatures burned through woodland on Mount Hymettus on the outskirts of the capital, forcing residents to flee their houses.

Dozens of firefighters with 15 fire engines battled the flames, assisted by two helicopters. So far, no one has been reported injured, fire brigade officials said.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was briefed by officials at the defense ministry about the fires.

Separately, wildfires burned through rural land in the region of Laconia in the Peloponnese, forcing one fire-fighting aircraft into an emergency landing, defense ministry officials said.

Local officials said that five villages were evacuated in the area, near the town of Monemvassia.

"It's hellish right now, there are hundreds of pockets of fire," Iraklis Trichilis, mayor of the town of Monemvassia, had earlier told Skai television.

Greek officials requested assistance from France and Italy to combat fires, Skai reported.

[Combined reports]