Firefighters continue to battle blaze near site of Ancient Messene

Firefighters continued on Tuesday to battle a large blaze in the southwestern Peloponnese that prompted authorities to partially evacuate four villages and take emergency measures for the protection of an ancient city.

The wildfire, which broke out around noon on Monday in Zerbisia near the historic village of Meligalas, quickly grew out of control as it was stoked by strong winds and high temperatures.

The flames spread to the outskirts of nearby villages, prompting their evacuation, while there are also concerns that it may threaten Ancient Messene, the site of a city founded in 369 BC as the capital of free Messinia.

Seven water-dumping aircraft, and hundreds of firefighters and volunteers took up the task of battling the blaze at first light on Tuesday after efforts on Monday failed to contain the conflagration.