Athens fire: Irish bride severely burned and husband missing after Greece blaze

Forest fires: Greece declares state of emergency, asks for international aid

Huge forest fires raging across Greece have killed at least four people and injured dozens more, forcing authorities to seek global assistance as they battle the flames.

As part of a huge rescue effort, emergency workers used boats and helicopters to evacuate a beach.

Winds of above 100 kilometres per hour (60 mph) in Mati caused a "sudden progression of fire" through the village, said Maliri.

"Mati no longer exists", said the mayor of nearby Rafina, Evangelos Bournous.

The search is underway for survivors of Greek forest fires that have claimed the lives of more than 70 people.

Greece's deadliest wildfires in more than a decade sent flecks of ash and orange-gray plumes over Athens and prompted people to flee from coastal spots popular with summer vacationers.

The first major fire broke out in a pine forest near the seaside settlement of Kineta 30 miles west of Athens between the capital and Corinth.

A house burns during a wildfire in Kineta, near Athens.

The European Union activated its Civil Protection Mechanism after Greece sought help, with Cyprus sending 60 firefighters and Spain mobilising two fire-fighting planes.

Later on Tuesday, the Greek Foreign Ministry thanked Turkey and Macedonia for their offers of help.

Mr Varadkar added that assistance is being offered through the embassy in Athens.

Fire service spokeswoman Stavroula Maliri said firefighters were still searching for more victims and taking "dozens of calls" from people looking for relatives, she said.

The fires started Monday and have since moved quickly to burn land, structures and vehicles.

Forest fires: Greece declares state of emergency, asks for international aid

Wildfires are not uncommon in Greece, and the relatively dry winter combined with recent scorching temperatures provided the flawless conditions for the blazes, although at this point it's uncertain what started the fires.

At least 80 people are believed to have died in the fires, which have swept through the Attica region since Monday.

"If I hadn't left, I'd have been burned", a 67-year-old resident who gave her name as Maria told AFP.

Near the town of Marathon, residents fled to safety along the beach, while 600 children were evacuated from holiday camps.

In the north, more than 300 firefighters, five aircraft and two helicopters were mobilised to tackle the "extremely difficult" situation, Athens fire chief Achille Tzouvaras said.

Officials raised the possibility the blazes could have been started deliberately by criminals out to ransack abandoned homes.

Wildfires are not uncommon in Greece, and a relatively dry winter helped create the current tinder-box conditions.

Tsipras and Greek officials have expressed misgivings at the fact that several major fires broke out at the same time.

The mercury hit a high of 35 Celsius this week in the Nordic nation, where usual summer temperatures are closer to 23 Celsius.

Fueled by gale-force winds, they trapped thousands of people on beaches, roads and in homes.

Norway, which experienced its hottest May temperatures on record, has also seen several small fires, and one firefighter was killed on July 15 trying to contain a blaze.

Fires have also raged for five days in Latvia, destroying more than 800 hectares in the Baltic state's western regions.

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