An effort by firefighters to extinguish a large blaze that broke out on Tuesday morning in a wooded area between the northern Athenian suburbs of Stamata and Aghios Stefanos continued in the early afternoon though Fire Service officials indicated that the situation had improved. Although their efforts were hampered by strong winds that fueled the blaze, the firefighters managed to partially control the flames, the officials said.
By 2.30 p.m., some 70 firefighters and 25 engines had been dispatched to the scene while two water-dropping planes and two helicopters assisted from the air. The fire started shortly before 11 a.m. on the road to the historic site of Marathon and spread to parts of Stamata and Aghios Stefanos, both affluent residential suburbs.
Authorities were concerned that powerful winds may steer the fire toward homes, after already having knocked out several electricity poles and causing power cuts. Speaking to Skai TV earlier in the day, the deputy for civil protection of the Municipality of Dionysos, to which both Stamata and Aghios Stefanos belong, said there is reason to believe the fire was started by an arsonist.
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