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Firefighters battle blaze near Athens


A firefighter looks at smoke from the roof of a fire vehicle after a wildfire broke out in Kitsi, a southern suburb of Athens on June 19, 2024.
A firefighter looks at smoke from the roof of a fire vehicle after a wildfire broke out in Kitsi, a southern suburb of Athens on June 19, 2024.

Greek firefighters and water-dropping aircraft tamed but did not completely extinguish a wildfire Wednesday near Athens.

"The situation is being brought under control," local Mayor Dimitris Kioussis told state-run ERT television. Earlier, the residents of two villages had been evacuated.

Firefighters will be on alert all night in case the blaze sparks up again.

Officials say they believe the fire is the result of arson, exacerbated by extreme weather conditions. There have been no reports of deaths or injuries because of the blaze.

Civil protection minister Vassilis Kikilias said authorities possess a video and photographs of a suspected arsonist.

The fire near Athens is one of dozens across Greece. Reuters reports that firefighters have been deployed to more than 60 fires across the country, and that 16 of the blazes remain active.

"Since noon, we had a new fire breaking out almost every 10 minutes," Kikilias said.

While fires are common in the region, increasingly high temperatures and lack of rain have increased the intensity of the blazes.

Firefighters battled the fire near Athens on Wednesday as temperatures reached 35 degrees Celsius.

Scientists blame the hotter and drier conditions on climate change.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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