Chios battles with destructive wildfire for third day

Firefighters on Chios are battling with a wildfire on Chios for a third day, hoping to avert damage to the island?s rare mastic trees, a vital source of income for the island.

The fire, which started early on Saturday, has already burned some 700 hectares of land. It has damaged mastic cultivation in Lithi, Vessa, Elata and Ermolia.

Strong and changing winds have hampered the fire service?s efforts since the fire broke out in the area of Aghios Markos at about 2 a.m. on Saturday.

Dozens of volunteers and soldiers have joined in the effort to tackle the blaze on the northeastern Aegean island. Firefighters from other parts of Greece arrived on Sunday to provide assistance.

The gale force winds restricted the operation of water-dropping airplanes, leaving three helicopters to tackle the fire from the sky.

Local authorities have claimed that the fire is the work of arsonists, pointing to the numerous fronts that have developed simultaneously.

There are reports that locals caught a man trying to start a fire in a wooded area.

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