Greek fire crews make progress on island blaze

The fire broke out on Tuesday and has destroyed over 1,000 hectares of dense pine forest, according to state agency ANA

Firefighters in Greece on Friday made progress against a four-day wildfire on the island of Evia that has burned through a pine forest and threatened villages, officials said.

"The situation looks better today, there is no active front, but our forces remain in place," a fire department spokesman told AFP, adding that there are still "pockets of fire" smouldering in a ravine.

A massive force of nearly 400 firefighters backed by 110 vehicles, nine planes and four helicopters has been deployed against the blaze.

Two water bombers from Italy and one from Spain are assisting the effort, the spokesman said.

State agency ANA said the fire, which broke out Tuesday, has destroyed over 1,000 hectares of dense pine forest.

EU Humanitarian Commissioner Christos Stylianides on Wednesday called the mobilisation of Greek forces "exemplary" after emergency crews managed to save inhabited areas.

A firefighter was hospitalised with burns on Tuesday, and at least four cars have been burned.

Authorities suspect arson was involved as the fire broke out in three separate locations near the village of Makrymalli.

Two Greek men were arrested Thursday on suspicion of setting fires in the Peloponnese peninsula.

Greece has been hit by a spate of wildfires since the weekend, fanned by gale-force winds and temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).