Firefighters assisted by water-dropping planes and helicopters are battling a large forest fire in southern Greece, with authorities evacuating three villages and the coast guard sending vessels to rescue scores of people trapped on a beach.

The fire burning in the Lakonia area on the tip of Greece's southern Peloponnese Friday was being fanned by strong winds. The coast guard said a coast guard vessel and other nearby boats were heading to a nearby bay where an estimated 100 people from a nearby settlement had sought refuge from the flames.

One of the seven firefighting planes battling the blaze had to make an emergency landing, the fire department said. The two pilots were not hurt. Two helicopters, 120 firefighters, nearly 30 soldiers and 50 vehicles were fighting the fire.