Attica blaze burns factory, nears homes

On the worst day for forest fires this summer, dozens of blazes raged in different parts of the country yesterday, with the worst in Magoula, western Attica, threatening homes and factories late last night. Earlier yesterday the fire service said that strong winds were hampering the efforts of water-dropping aircraft dispatched to douse the blaze that started near Magoula and spread in the direction of Mount Parnitha, whose slopes were charred in catastrophic forest fires two years ago. Firemen managed to protect village homes from the Magoula blaze, which strong winds whipped into at least two fronts. One of the fronts destroyed a factory that made wooden pallets as well as a large warehouse and several smaller ones. The same front also threatened a customs storage facility while the damage to forestland wreaked by the flames remained unclear. Magoula Mayor Theophilos Rokas told Kathimerini that dozens of firemen had struggled to keep the flames away from homes in local villages and had managed to protect the houses though some front yards were charred. High winds also fanned several other blazes. One of the worst broke out on the popular tourist destination of Cephalonia, one of the Ionian group of islands. Two water-dropping aircraft and a helicopter were sent to the island to aid the efforts of firefighters on the ground who had managed to bring the fire, which broke out in the area of Hionati, under control by late yesterday. Another fire on the island of Lemnos in the northern Aegean was still burning late last night as winds hampered efforts by local firemen. The cause of the blaze, which broke out in the area of Myrina, was unclear. A total of 55 forest fires were reported yesterday with other large blazes near the port of Astakos in Aetoloacarnania, in Paliohori, Thesprotia, in Eleftheroupoli near Kavala and at Maries on the island of Zakynthos.