Heat and wind stoke blazes

As temperatures soared and winds remained high across much of the country yesterday, firefighters battled to control serious blazes in Livadia, north of Attica, and in southern Crete. Two water-dropping aircraft and two helicopters helped firefighters to tackle a blaze that broke out early in the afternoon near Livadia in the prefecture of Viotia. Fanned by strong winds, the fire spread toward the village of Davleio but had been brought under control by late yesterday. Another fire near the popular Cretan resort of Ierapetra also kept firemen busy for several hours but had been contained by late afternoon. Meanwhile, prefectural authorities in Athens closed all roads leading to Hymettus and Pendeli mountains to protect forestland from would-be arsonists or accidental fire starters. The Peloponnesian prefecture of Ileia, the worst hit by the catastrophic fires of 2007, has seen 68 blazes so far this year, most believed to have been started through negligence.