Thousands of Greeks have spent Sunday night outside of their homes after fleeing raging wildfires threatening communities on the outskirts of Athens.
Residents of Agio Stefanos, a community north of Athens were ordered out of their homes as the fire bore down on their town. Firefighters managed to reduce the numerous wildfires around the Greek capital to a handful of fronts, but strong winds continued to push the fires south toward the city.
More than 2,000 firefighters and soldiers are struggling against the flames which started Friday and have spread across an area 50 kilometers wide.
Also in the path, the town of Marathon, home of ancient monuments and museums. Marathon's mayor, Spyros Zagaris, said he had been "begging the government to send over planes and helicopters," but so far no help has come.
Water-dropping aircraft ended flyovers Sunday night, but were to resume drops Monday, with aircraft coming in from France, Italy and Cypress.
Firefighters are hoping the winds will let up and allow them to bring the fire under control, but the forecast for Monday calls for another day of clear, windy skies and warm sunshine, which will not help their efforts.
How this fire is handled is expected to have political fallout for Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, whose government was criticized for its handling of wildfires two years ago.
No casualties have been reported so far in this fire which is considered the worst fire emergency since more than 60 people were killed in wildfires there two years ago. Then, scorching temperatures and high winds combined to destroy over 100,000 hectares of forest and farmland, leaving thousands homeless.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.