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World: Greek wildfire burns through pine forest for 4th day

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Hundreds of Greek and Polish firefighters were battling a major wildfire decimating a pine forest for a fourth day Thursday northwest of the Greek capital.

An aircraft and helicopters operate during a wildfire in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) © Provided by Associated Press An aircraft and helicopters operate during a wildfire in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) An helicopter operates during a wildfire in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis): Greece Wildfire © Provided by Associated Press Greece Wildfire

The fire near the village of Vilia, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Athens, has already burned through thousands of hectares and led to evacuation orders being issued for several villages in the area. Strong winds forecast for later in the day could complicate firefighting efforts.

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A firefighter extinguish a fire during a wildfire in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) © Provided by Associated Press A firefighter extinguish a fire during a wildfire in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The fire department said 427 firefighters, including 143 from Poland, along with 149 vehicles were battling the flames. Five water-dropping planes and five helicopters were providing air support, while the army sent manpower and machinery.

A wildfire burns a field with olive trees in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) © Provided by Associated Press A wildfire burns a field with olive trees in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The Vilia blaze is the latest of hundreds of wildfires that have burnt across Greece this month, fueled by a heat wave — the country’s most severe in about three decades — that parched shrubland and forests.

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A helicopter drops water during a wildfire in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) © Provided by Associated Press A helicopter drops water during a wildfire in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The blazes have stretched the country’s firefighting capabilities to the limit, leading the government to appeal for international help, including through a European Union emergency response system. About 24 European and Middle Eastern countries responded, sending planes, helicopters, vehicles and hundreds of firefighters. Most have since returned home.

A helicopter drops water during a wildfire in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) © Provided by Associated Press A helicopter drops water during a wildfire in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The causes of the fires have not been officially established, although more than a dozen people have been arrested on suspicion of arson.

New flames thwart French efforts to fight Riviera wildfire

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A wildfire burns a forest in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) © Provided by Associated Press A wildfire burns a forest in Vilia area some 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Athens, Greece, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. A major wildfire northwest of the Greek capital devoured large tracts of pine forest for a third day and threatened a large village as hundreds of firefighters, assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters, battled the flames Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Intense heat and wildfires have also struck other Mediterranean countries. Firefighters in France worked to contain a forest fire along the French Riviera on Tuesday, and recent wildfires have killed at least 75 people in Algeria and 16 in Turkey. Worsening drought and heat have also fueled wildfires in the western United States and in Russia’s northern Siberia region.


Video: Fire engulfs forest in Montana (Reuters)

Sequoia National Park's Giant Forest unscathed by wildfire .
THREE RIVERS, Calif. (AP) — The ancient massive trees of Sequoia National Park’s famed Giant Forest were unscathed Tuesday even though a wildfire has been burning near them on the western side of California’s Sierra Nevada for nearly two weeks. “As of right now we don’t have any damage to any of our trees,” said fire information officer Mark Garrett. The KNP Complex, two lightning-sparked fires that merged, has spread over more than 39 square miles (101 square kilometers), feeding on other types of trees that also live on the high-elevation slopes of the mountain range.

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