Greece hit by wildfires, three firefighters injured
Several wildfires broke out in Greece on Saturday, including one near the coast south of Athens in which three firefighters were lightly injured, the fire service's media office said.
Four fires threatened residential areas around the capital. Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos visited fire department headquarters and said foreign assistance would be requested if the situation grew worse, state television station Net reported.
One fire in the densely populated Athens suburb of Pallini damaged a factory and a school before firefighters brought it under control.
The injuries occurred in the worst blaze, between the towns of Keratea and Palaia Fokaia some 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Athens, which firefighters were still trying to tame as night fell.
Some 170 firefighters were dispatched to fight the blaze, aided by four planes and a helicopter.
Firefighters said the flames were threatening villas throughout the area.
A retirement home was evacuated as a precaution amid choking air, officials said.
Winds of up to 70 kilometres (45 miles) per hour were pushing flames towards the sea, according to Constantin Leventis, mayor of regional capital Lavrio.
He told public television that the fire had been lit by a spark from workers who had been welding, despite public warnings against such activities.
Another brushfire was burning away from populated areas near Neapolis in the southwest of the Peloponnese, officials said. Forty firefighters had been deployed.
The fires, the first of Greece's wildfire season, come just a day ahead of crucial parliamentary elections that will likely decide Greece's future in the eurozone.