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Thousands of residents fled from a forest fire that broke out north of Athens. On the neighboring island of Evia, the coast guard conducted a large-scale operation with patrol boats and private vessels to evacuate hundreds of people by sea, AP reported.

Due to the prolonged heatwave, the fire reached woodlands 20 kilometers north of the Greek capital, destroying more homes.

Traffic is stopped on the country's main highway connecting Athens to northern Greece as crews tried to use the road as a barrier to stop the spread of the flames.

Several firefighters and volunteers were hospitalized with burns, health officials said.

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