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Massive fire spreads rapidly in Athens suburb overnight, sparking evacuations (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

A huge blaze prompted early morning evacuations in a suburb of the Greek capital. At least 140 firefighters and 46 vehicles were dispatched to battle the wildfire.

Locals in the city’s eastern suburb of Paiania were awoken by authorities in the middle of the night to evacuate their houses. However, a spokesman for the fire service said there is no information on how many people fled. 

Fanned by strong winds, flames from the large fire climbed 20 meters and spread quickly up the 1,026-meter (3,366-feet) slopes of Mount Hymettos. 

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Some 141 firefighters and eight specialized helicopters fought the blaze from midnight until it was brought under control soon after dawn on Monday morning. 

We faced a big front with flames that shot up to 20 metres (65 ft) and reached the mountaintop. It is in recession now but we still have a lot of work to do,” Civil Protection General Secretary Nikos Hardalias told Skai TV.

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Wildfires across Greece have become increasingly widespread due to soaring temperatures and high winds. In the last 24 hours, authorities have responded to 60 wildfires across the country. 

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