Villages evacuated in Greece as strong winds fan wildfire

fire_06At least two villages were evacuated in Greece’s southern Peloponnese peninsula, officials said Friday as a large wildfire broke out in the early morning, fanned by strong winds.

“The fire has already passed through two villages, burning homes,” Iraklis Trichilis, mayor of the town of Monemvassia, told Skai television.

“It’s hellish right now, there are hundreds of pockets of fire,” he said.

Civil protection chief Tassos Mavropoulos told the station that reinforcements from the entire Peloponnese were being rushed to the area.

“We have evacuated two villages and a summer camp,” Mavropoulos said, adding that the operation was complicated by mountainous terrain and near-gale winds.

More than 120 firefighters had been dispatched to the area, supported by 50 fire engines, four aircraft and two helicopters, officials said.

But fire department spokesman Nikos Tsongas warned there could be further damage to property.

“The winds are strong and are not expected to weaken. There could be further damage,” he said.

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