World

Greek authorities battle big wildfire south of Athens

Dozens of firefighters assisted by five water-dropping helicopters are battling a large brush fire south of Athens, but Greek authorities say no inhabited areas are in immediate danger.

The fire service said 70 firefighters on the ground, backed up by more than 30 fire engines and water tankers, are taking part in the operation.

The blaze broke out Monday in the Kalyvia area some 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Athens, and quickly spread through tinder-dry vegetation due to strong winds.

Giorgos Sofronis, mayor of the local Saronikos area, said it was a big blaze but no homes were threatened.

Authorities were trying to contain the fire before nightfall, after which water-dropping aircraft cannot operate.

Summer wildfires are common in Greece. Dozens of people died in major blazes in 2007.