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Dozens flee homes as wildfires rage near Athens

Friday, July 17, 2015 - 01:30

Dozens of Athens residents escape their homes as wildfires fanned by strong winds burn through woodland around the Greek capital. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Dozens of Athens residents fled their homes on Friday as wildfires fanned by strong winds and high temperatures burned through woodland around the Greek capital, sending clouds of smoke billowing over the city. The fires are compounding the problems facing the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, which is struggling to obtain a fresh bailout from foreign creditors. Tsipras, who may delay a reshuffle of his cabinet - expected on Friday - because of the emergency, urged calm as more than 80 firefighters with 18 fire engines and three aircraft battled the flames, which a Reuters photographer said were near homes. "We all need to stay calm," Tsipras told reporters. Tsipras said he had asked the air force and armed forces for help and had also appealed to other European countries for assistance with extra fire-fighting aircraft. Forest fires are common during the summer months in Greece but memories remain vivid of the huge damage and heavy loss of life caused in 2007, during the most serious outbreak of the past few years. Separately, wildfires burned through rural land on the island of Evia near Athens and in the region of Laconia in the Peloponnese where one fire-fighting aircraft was forced into an emergency landing, according to the regional governor. State television reported the fire's front was over 15 km long and one health center in the region was preparing to evacuate patients. A police source said a 58-year-old died after inhaling fumes and suffering respiratory problems.

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Dozens flee homes as wildfires rage near Athens

Friday, July 17, 2015 - 01:30