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Wildfire threatens houses near Athens, Greece

The blaze started Saturday afternoon on dried grass, apparently as the result of an accident and was spreading fast, engulfing four isolated houses on the outskirts of the towns of Keratea and Palea Fokaia and threatening others.

Because of the high winds, two firefighting planes sent to help put out the fire were unable to operate and replaced by one helicopter and four newer planes, according to a statement by the fire brigade. It said 74 firefighting vehicles were operating on the ground. Firefighters called the situation “hellish” and said the fire will not stop until it reaches the sea, about 5 kilometers (3 miles) southwest. An old peoples’ home was evacuated and its 42 residents moved to a nearby resort, authorities said.

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