Raging Wildfires Force Greeks to Flee

Bracing for worsening conditions, officials struggle to tame blazes
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2009 5:34 PM CDT
Raging Wildfires Force Greeks to Flee
A man flees during a forest fire near the town of Magoula, some 20 miles northwest of Athens, Greece, on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Dozens of wildfires are raging across Greece today, forcing villagers to flee and threatening to scorch ancient landmarks, the BBC reports. Fanned by gale-force winds, the flames are also creeping up on the nation's capital, where one suburb has already received evacuation orders, the AP reports. "The coming night will be especially difficult," a fire brigade spokesman said.

While scores of people have fled on foot, motorbikes, and by car, many residents are refusing to leave their homes. Priests armed with hoses have joined some homeowners in the uphill battle. No casualties are reported so far, but 75 more blazes cropped up today, making this the worst rash of fires to hit Greece since 2007, when wildfires took 70 lives.
(More Greece stories.)

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