Strong winds stoke flames

A fire that broke out south of Rethymnon, Crete, was largely under control late yesterday after authorities evacuated nearby hotels and homes, authorities said. No one was hurt in the blaze, which erupted in the Plakia area. Firefighters said that flames were as high as 5 meters, fanned by winds with speeds of up to 8 Beaufort. More than 60 firefighters using 20 trucks were involved in the operation. Hotels in the area were evacuated for precautionary reasons, sources said, while the blaze also threatened to engulf homes. An investigation is exploring what may have caused the fire. But residents insist that it was the work of arsonists, since the blaze apparently started at four different points simultaneously. Separately, a forest fire on the island of Salamina near Athens was also tamed yesterday, firefighters said.