Evacuation ordered as another fire breaks out near Athens, as Greece suffers more devastating wildfires & arson suspected

Greek firefighters have been battling a large wildfire near the port town of Lavrio outside Athens on Monday, with the local authorities suspecting that this latest disaster could’ve been caused by arsonists.

The blaze started out on a mountain some 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the Greek capital. Despite the area having low vegetation, there was high risk that the strong winds could cause the flames to spread to the nearby pine woods or residential areas.

More than a hundred homes scattered on the mountain were ordered to evacuate, with media reports saying that several buildings had caught fire.

More than 70 firefighters, six water-bomber planes and four helicopters have been sent to Lavreotiki municipality to contain the wildfire.

The dangerous blaze could’ve been caused by arsonists, the municipality’s deputy head, Thanasis Markodimitris, told broadcaster Skai. According to the official, early on Monday cleaning workers, who were on a mountain spotted a suspicious object being tossed out of the window of a white Peugeot 306 vehicle.

“Right after that they saw smoke,” Markodimitris said, adding that the car, which had tinted windows, drove away at such high speed that nobody could note of its license plates.

Greece has been hit by over 500 wildfires in recent weeks amid a severe heatwave that has seen temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius (113 Farenheit).

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The worst situation was on the island of Evia where the fire burned for a whole week, destroying a huge forest area and prompting the evacuation by sea of thousands of people. The flames also reached the suburbs of Athens, enveloping the capital in smoke. At least three people have been arrested by the Greek police during the heatwave on suspicion of arson.

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