Wildfires rage in Athens suburbs, causing property damage

14:24, July 18, 2010      

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Greek fire fighters work to extinguish a forest fire at a village a few miles northeast of Athens, Greece, July 17, 2010. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)Firefighters on Saturday battled two wind-fueled wildfires in the suburbs of Athens that caused some property damage.

With the help of airplanes and helicopters, dozens of firefighters worked to contain the blazes that extended to 2 or 3 km near houses in Sounion and Kalamos in eastern Attica prefecture.

The first fire was reported around midday and the second erupted about an hour later. The fires were the first major wildfires this summer in Greece.

The fires damaged a monastery, two houses and a few cars, local media reported.

Authorities said three camp areas near Sounion and houses in Kalamos have been evacuated but no people were in danger.

Police urged Athenians to avoid driving to beaches in the eastern part of Attica to prevent traffic jams that could make it more difficult for firefighters to extinguish the fires.

Saturday's blazes occurred amidst a heat wave that has pushed temperarures into the upper 30s in most of Greece.

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