Greece declares Chios in state of emergency as forest fire burns


Greece has declared a state of emergency on the Aegean island of Chios, engulfed by a wildfire raging out of control, authorities said on Monday.

Dozens of firefighters and aircraft were deployed to fight the forest fire which broke out early on Monday, burning through olive groves and mastic trees, an important source of income for the island which has a population of about 52,000.

Smoke forced some people to flee their homes in two villages, but there has been no order to evacuate, the island's mayor, Manolis Vournous, told state television.

Forest fires are common during the summer in Greece, where dry weather and strong winds can quickly fan fires, devastating large areas. Some 70 people were killed in 2007, during the most serious wildfire outbreak in decades.