ATHENS, Greece – The Latest on forest fires in Greece (all times local):
Regional Greek authorities have declared a state of emergency in the eastern and western parts of greater Athens, as fires fanned by gale-force winds raged through pine forests and seaside towns on either side of the Greek capital.
One fire was burning Monday northeast of Athens in the Penteli area, moving into the town of Rafina. In nearby Mati, the coast guard was sending a patrol boat to evacuate people trapped on a beach by the flames.
The second wildfire was ravaging mountainous pine forests 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Athens. The blaze has created such thick smoke that the main highways between the Peloponnese and the Greek mainland have been shut down and an orange haze has descended on Athens.
Regional governor Rena Dourou called the state of emergency in East and West Attica and was providing buses, water trucks and machinery to help battle the fires.
Two major forest fires are raging out of control on either side of the Greek capital Monday, burning houses, prompting residents to flee and turning the sky over Athens a hazy orange from the smoke. Some people were reported to be trapped on a beach by the flames.
The first fire broke out in a pine forest near the seaside settlement of Kineta 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Athens between the capital and Corinth. At least 150 firefighters were on the scene while five water-dropping planes and seven helicopters helped to fight the blaze from the air.
The second major fire broke out Monday afternoon in the Penteli area northeast of Athens. Local authorities said they were evacuating children's summer camps, while dozens of homes and cars were destroyed. At least three aircraft and a helicopter were battling the flames, along with at least 50 firefighters.
The coast guard was sending at least one patrol boat to rescue people who called to say the fire had trapped them on a beach.