Firefighters battle forest blaze near seaside village

Firefighters battle forest blaze near seaside village

Greek firefighters are battling to control a large forest fire fanned by strong winds near the seaside village of Kechries in the eastern Peloponnese, fire brigade officials said on Wednesday.

Authorities said they had been forced to evacuate a residential settlement as the blaze, burning through pine trees, came close to a military camp where explosives were stored.

Thick dark smoke clouded the area, with the front of the blaze moving south in very windy conditions. No damage to property or injuries had been reported.

"The blaze is fanned by strong winds, we have recommended the evacuation of three settlements. So far there are no injuries or damage to homes," a fire brigade official said.

Authorities had preventively evacuated the "Summerfun" camp, taking children to a safer area near the village's beach.

More than 70 firefighters were battling the blaze, assisted by five helicopters and two planes, with volunteers also helping.

The chief of Greece's fire brigade had travelled to the area to coordinate efforts, with reinforcements also heading there.

Kechries, a village in the municipality of Corinth, takes its name from the ancient port town of Kenchreai. 

The fire department said that three more large fires were raging across the country: in a forested area near Ancient Olympia, in grassland near the town of Rethymno in Crete and in the area of Petalidi, in Messinia. No settlements were at risk.

[Reuters, Kathimerini]

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