Greek authorities battle big wildfire south of Athens

ATHENS, Greece

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Dozens of firefighters are battling a large brush fire south of Athens, though no inhabited areas are in immediate danger, Greek authorities said Monday.

The fire service said that by late Monday, when nightfall prevented water-dropping aircraft from operating, the situation had improved considerably and the flames remained far from any homes.

Some 70 firefighters on the ground, backed up by more than 30 fire engines and water tankers, were taking part in the operation. During daylight hours, five water-dropping helicopters assisted in the efforts.

The blaze broke out in the Kalyvia area some 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Athens, and quickly spread through tinder-dry vegetation due to strong winds.

Summer wildfires are common in Greece. Dozens of people died in major blazes in 2007.

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