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More than 170 firefighters battle large wildfire in Greece

Posted at 12:06 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 15:06:15-04

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek authorities say more than 170 firefighters are battling to contain a large wildfire north of Athens that forced the preemptive evacuation of a small monastery but isn’t threatening homes.

The fire service says the blaze broke out Wednesday and swept through forest and farmland, fanned by strong winds, near the village of Asopia, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) from the capital. Its cause is being investigated.

Firefighters were assisted by 15 water-dropping planes and helicopters, as well as dozens of fire engines.

A fire service statement said two monks were removed, as a precaution, from a nearby monastery.

Greece is regularly afflicted by wildfires during its hot, dry summers. A year ago, 102 people died following a large blaze that gutted a seaside resort near Athens.