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Greece asks for help to fight fires


Fires similar to the picture are burning near the Turkish border.
Fires similar to the picture are burning near the Turkish border.

Jill Colton, staff writer

August 25, 2011 — Greece asks European Union for water-dropping planes to douse the flames of a raging forest fire.

Greece has put out a call for help from other E.U. countries.
Greece has put out a call for help from other E.U. countries.

Greek authorities have requested help from other European countries to battle a major forest fire.

The flames are burning near the Turkish border. No injuries have been reported.

The civil protection authority said Thursday it requested six water-dropping aircraft. Both Spain and France have responded by sending two planes each.

Over 300 firefighters, army officials and volunteers are battling the flames on the front lines in the northeastern Evros area. They're being assisted by seven aircraft and nearly 50 fire engines.

The flames sparked Wednesday and has so far charred more than 2,500 hectares of forest, while forcing the evacuation of a hamlet.

Police have arrested a local farmer suspected of accidently igniting the fire.

Summer forest blazes are common in Greece, and a terrible rash of wildfires four years ago destroyed around 100,000 hectares of forest in central and southern areas, killing 76 people.

The damage so far this year has been comparatively small, although a local fire brigade chief died fighting a blaze in the southern Peloponnese region this week.

With files from The Associated Press

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