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Wildfires Rampage in Greek Forests, Cut Large Island in Half

Firefighters and volunteers work to extinguish a wildfire in the Taxiarches region, north of Athens, on Aug. 6.

Firefighters and volunteers work to extinguish a wildfire in the Taxiarches region, north of Athens, on Aug. 6.

Photographer: Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Bloomberg
Updated on

Athens, Greece (AP) -- Three large wildfires churned across Greece on Saturday, with one threatening whole towns and cutting a line across Evia, the country's second-largest island, isolating its northern part. Others engulfed forested mountainsides and skirted ancient sites, leaving behind a trail of destruction that one official described as “a biblical catastrophe.”

A flotilla of 10 ships — two Coast Guard patrols, two ferries, two passenger ships and four fishing boats — waited at the seaside resort of Pefki, near the northern tip of Evia, ready to evacuate more residents and tourists if needed, a Coast Guard spokeswoman told The Associated Press, on customary condition of anonymity.