Greek villages evacuated as forest fires rage

Flames rise as firefighters and volunteers try to extinguish a fire burning in the village of Schinos in Greece, on May 19, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

ATHENS (AFP) - Scores of Greek villagers were evacuated early on Thursday (May 20) as a forest fire raged overnight around the protected wildlife habitat of Mount Geraneia, the fire department said, with no injuries immediately reported.

Six villages and two monasteries were evacuated after the fire broke out on Wednesday evening near the village of Skinos on the Gulf of Corinth, some 90 kilometres west of Athens, a spokesman said.

Fanned by strong winds, "the fire is burning over a large front", he told AFP.

"This is the first major fire of 2021... communities have been evacuated as a precaution," fire department spokesman Vassilis Vathrakogiannis told Skai TV.

"We have no information (that people's lives were threatened) and we have not had to rescue anyone," he said.

Over 180 firemen with 62 fire engines have been deployed to the area, backed by 17 planes and three helicopters, the fire department tweeted.

Some homes have been damaged, according to Greek media.

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