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A wildfire on the fringes of the Greek capital triggers evacuation alerts

Tourists walk around by Acropolis Hill, in Athens, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) Tourists walk around by Acropolis Hill, in Athens, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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ATHENS, Greece -

Scores of Greek firefighters and water-bombing aircraft were trying to contain a large wildfire on the fringes of Athens that forced authorities to issue evacuation orders Wednesday for two nearby settlements.

Television footage showed flames coursing through low scrub and olive trees in a sparsely inhabited area near Vari, some 30 kilometres  (18 miles) south of central Athens. Strong winds were hampering firefighting efforts.

No injuries were immediately reported. State ERT television showed destroyed plastic boats in a yacht and speedboat parking area, while Greek media reported two homes had been damaged.

The fire service said more than 70 firefighters, assisted by 10 water-dropping planes and helicopters, were working to control the blaze.

The surrounding area is dotted with hundreds of scattered buildings, both homes and businesses.

Dozens of wildfires have broken out in Greece in recent days amid scorching summer temperatures, but they were extinguished before causing extensive damage. Several people were arrested and charged with accidentally starting the blazes.

The greater Athens area has been declared at a high risk of fire Wednesday and Thursday.

Wildfires are common in Greece's dry, hot summers, and have caused scores of deaths in recent years. Authorities have warned of a particularly high risk this summer following a dry, warm winter that has left vegetation tinder-dry.

Earlier Wednesday. the fire service said it had brought under control another blaze near Markopoulo, east of Athens, and on the island of Evia.

Another wildfire was burning on the Aegean Sea island of Naxos.

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