At Least 24 Dead as Huge Fires Rage Near Greece’s Capital

    At least twenty-four people have died in huge fires raging out of control outside the Greek capital.

    Twenty deaths were confirmed by Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos while four more were found dead in the sea at the area of Artemida in Attica by the Greek Coast guard in the first hours of Tuesday.

    Another sixty-nine victims have been hospitalised.

    Greek authorities have declared a state of emergency in the eastern and western parts of greater Athens, as fires fanned by gale-force winds raged through pine forests and seaside towns on either side of the Greek capital.

    One fire was burning Monday northeast of Athens in the Penteli area, moving into the town of Rafina. In nearby Mati, the coast guard was sending a patrol boat to evacuate people trapped on a beach by the flames.

    The second wildfire was ravaging mountainous pine forests 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Athens. The blaze has created such thick smoke that the main highways between the Peloponnese and the Greek mainland have been shut down and an orange haze has descended on Athens.