300 fire fighters battle a blaze near Patras, Greece


Approximately 300 firefighters, water bomber planes and five helicopters were battling Sunday to put out a forest fire in Greece that has destroyed around 20 homes and injured eight people, authorities said.

Fires near patras.

Five villages have been evacuated, and sixteen people hospitalised with burns and respiratory problems since the fire broke out early Saturday near Patras, in the Peloponnese, about 210 kilometres (130 miles) west of Athens, the Greek Fire firefighting service said.

A freeway in the region was closed, as was the Rio-Antirrio bridge across the Gulf of Corinth connecting the Peloponnese and mainland Greece, the ANA news agency reported.

Hospitals in Patras and the adjacent city of Aigio were put on notice to admit any injured people, while the coastguard has been on standby to save any swimmers overcome by smoke.

According to the civil protection agency, 58 forest fires have broken out over the past 24 hours, although most were quickly brought under control.

Since Friday, Greece has been at the start of another heatwave with temperatures hovering between 42 and 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit), weather forecasters say.