Wildfire burns homes and trees north of Athens

Several homes were burned in the seaside resort of Kalamos, just north of Athens, yesterday after a wildfire broke out and revived memories of last summer’s devastating blazes, which left almost 80 people dead. There were no reports of serious injuries yesterday but the fire destroyed at least two homes. The blaze broke out shortly before 3 p.m. on a forested hillside in an area where many Athenians have holiday homes. It was not clear last night what had caused the fire but Thursday saw the highest temperature this year in Athens. Some 100 firefighters were dispatched to the area to battle the blaze with the help of six water-bombing planes, three helicopters and 26 fire engines. Traffic police closed off a number of roads in the area to allow fire engines easier access to the blaze’s fronts. Officials said that the fire was fanned by strong winds. The fire was under control by last night but the Civil Protection Authority warned that a number of areas, including eastern Attica and Evia, were at risk of wildfires today. The Kalamos fire was the first major blaze to take place near Athens this year. A smaller fire broke out near Megara, west of Athens, on Thursday but caused less damage. A 44-year-old Georgian man appeared before a prosecutor yesterday charged with causing the fire by mistake while he was welding a fence in the area of Vlichada. Last night, firefighters were also called to a blaze in the wood located on the Tourkovounia hill near the Athens neighborhood of Galatsi. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire. The fire service said that it had managed to get the blaze under control fairly quickly. Greece has yet to experience this year anywhere near the scale of the wildfires that swept through the Peloponnese and Evia last summer, destroying dozens of homes and burning more than 250,000 hectares of forest and farmland.