Forest fires out as winds drop

Firemen in Halkidiki and the Megalopolis area in the southern Peloponnese succeeded yesterday in extinguishing two large fires that ravaged over 150 hectares of forest after breaking out on Monday. In the Halkidiki peninsula, an estimated 100 hectares was burnt between the villages of Neos Marmaras and Parthenonas in the fire that started in a local garbage dump. A prosecutor yesterday ordered an urgent investigation into the causes of the fire, although municipal officials at Neos Marmaras claimed that they had taken all necessary precautions at the landfill. In the Palaiochouni area, some 15 kilometers (9 miles) east of Megalopolis, the fire destroyed 45 hectares of forest, 15 hectares of scrub and 20 hectares of cultivated land. Both fires were fanned by strong winds, which dropped considerably yesterday. In total, 121 forest fires broke out all over the country between Monday morning and yesterday evening, including a blaze on the island of Cephalonia that ravaged 40 hectares of forest and scrub.

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