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Varybobi fire still out of control; evacuees to be put up at hotels at state expense

Residents of Varybobi, a northern suburb of Athens, were evacuated on Tuesday afternoon, following a large fire that broke out in a forest near the former royal estate.

In an update late on Tuesday, authorities said they were evacuating Thrakomakedones, in the same suburb of Acharnes.

Suburban railroad trains between Athens and Thessaloniki and Athens and Chalkida (Evia) have been suspended due to the conditions created by the fire, TrainOSE said.

Civil Protection has been issuing SMSs (text messages) through the 112 emergency number to ask residents of nearby towns to seal windows, doors and chimneys to prevent cinders from entering their homes, and to warn them to be on alert for possible developments including evacuation.

Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chryssochoidis and Deputy Civil Protection Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias are coordinating action, the former in the area by helicopter and the latter through the central Operations Center.

A force of 350 firefighters, 10 mountaineer teams, 70 fire trucks, a mobile operations center, 5 helicopters and 5 airplanes are trying to put the fire out, while volunteers and local administration water trucks have been assisting them.

Traffic in the Athens-Lamia national highway was shut down again on Tuesday after reopening, due to new developments in the Varybobi fire, which is raging out of control.

The sections shut down start at Lykovrisi in the direction toward Lamia, and at Agios Stefanos exit in the direction toward Piraeus.