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Greece issues 'extreme fire warning' for half of country as blazes rage

Wildfires north of Athens leapt back to life on Thursday as searing conditions persisted and emergency crews battled blazes across Greece for a third day running.

A wall of dark smoke rose high above the Greek capital, residents fled suburbs, asylum seekers were evacuated and authorities warned of more blazes on Friday as temperatures hovered around 40 degrees Celsius (107 Fahrenheit). 

With swathes of neighboring Turkey also aflame, the smoke-filled skies have added to apocalyptic images of floods and fire seen across Europe this summer.

More than 150 wildfires have broken out across Greece since Tuesday, destroying houses, forcing the evacuation of dozens of towns and villages and burning thousands of acres of forest land.

The Civil Protection Authority issued an "extreme fire warning" for half the country on Friday amid the heatwave.

The finance ministry announced emergency payments of up to 6,000 euros ($7,100) for people who had lost possessions and said more measures would follow.

Local utilities said there could be rolling power cuts in some parts of the Attica region around the capital due to the fire.

Access to parks and forests will be forbidden in the coming days, Deputy Citizens' Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said. Additional firefighters and aircraft were expected to arrive from France, Sweden, Romania and Switzerland.

(Source: Reuters) 

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