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Greece: Several wildfires continue to rage as night approaches

Several blazes continued to burn around Greece, including one on the island of Samos, in the eastern Aegean, where two people died when their water-dropping helicopter crashed into the sea.

Ground crews working in hard-to-reach places and water-dropping aircraft had managed to contain the fire in western Samos but the strong winds blowing in the area rekindled the flames.

Speaking on state-run radio station ERT Aegean, the mayor of west Samos, Alexandros Lymberis, said that initial evidence suggests the fire started from a power pole of state-run power utility PPC, and ruled out the possibility of arson.

ERT Aegean also reported that some summer homes in the settlement of Makria Pounta were burned, as well as boats.

On Wednesday, a Romanian national and a Greek liaison officer died when their helicopter crashed into the sea, authorities said, while two Moldovan nationals survived.

In northeastern Greece, a large blaze burning low vegatation in the rural areas of Alexandroupolis forced the precautionary evacuation of an SOS Village. Efforts had focused in the area northeast of the village Aristinos, where 91 firemen with 23 vehicles, four aircraft and tho helicopters were battling the blaze.

A third fire that broke out in olive groves at 4 p.m. near Preveza, western Greece, had been partially contained, after getting dangerously close to greenhouses and homes.

In Evia, a fireman was injured and had to be transferred to hospital while battling a large blaze raging near the town of Karystos. According to mayor Lefteris Raviolos, “for the time being, the fire is contained, but no one knows what will happen with such strong winds.”