Rescue workers find man's body as Greek wildfires retreat

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire in Athens on July 17, 2015.
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire in Athens on July 17, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

ATHENS (REUTERS) - Rescue workers found the burned body of a 47-year-old man as they brought under control wildfires that had broken out on Friday around Athens and in other parts of southern Greece, the country's fire brigade said.

The wildfires had largely retreated on Sunday but firemen were still on the ground and the risk of more fires remained high due to strong winds, the fire brigade said in a statement.

The victim was an off-duty policeman who had gone missing after going for a walk in an area that was later hit by the fires, local media said.

A 58-year-old died on Friday after inhaling fumes and suffering respiratory problems.

Separately, two men were arrested on Saturday on suspicion of starting a fire that broke out northeast of Athens. They had lit a fire to smoke bees out of their hives, police said.

Forest fires are common during summer in Greece. The fire brigade said 74 separate fires had broken out on several fronts in an area stretching from the island of Evia, northeast of Athens, to the southern Peloponnese.

Most of the fires had retreated or were under partial control, but an undergrowth fire that started on Saturday on the Ionian island of Zakynthos was still raging.

The fires have added to the worries of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' government, which has been focused on its struggle to obtain a new financial bailout from foreign creditors.