The Latest: Greece seeks EU help with major forest fire

A firefighters sprays water during a forest fire in the village of Metohi north of Athens, on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. A large wildfire north of Athens is threatening homes as it sweeps through pine forest for a second day, uncontained due to high winds.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A firefighter works to fight a wildfire on a slope outside the town of Ferreira do Zezere, near Vila de Rei, central Portugal, Monday, Aug. 14 2017. Portuguese officials say 112 people have been evacuated from their homes in the central town of Vila de Rei as more than 3,700 firefighters continue to battle dozens of wildfires across the country. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
A firefighting plane drops its load during a forest fire near the village of Metohi north of Athens, on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. A large wildfire north of Athens is threatening homes as it sweeps through pine forest, un-contained for a second day due to high winds.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Firefighters battle a wildfire on a slope outside the town of Ferreira do Zezere, near Vila de Rei, central Portugal, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. Portuguese officials say 112 people have been evacuated from their homes in the central town of Vila de Rei as more than 3,700 firefighters continue to battle dozens of wildfires across the country. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Fire burns by the side of the road linking Vila de Rei and Abrantes, central Portugal, as night falls Monday, Aug. 14 2017. Portuguese officials say 112 people have been evacuated from their homes in the central town of Vila de Rei as more than 3,700 firefighters continue to battle dozens of wildfires across the country. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Two cyclists stop by the road on the hills outside Ferreira do Zezere, central Portugal, as a huge cloud of smoke rises in the direction of Vila de Rei, Monday, Aug. 14 2017. Portuguese officials say 112 people have been evacuated from their homes in the central town of Vila de Rei as more than 3,700 firefighters continue to battle dozens of wildfires across the country. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

LISBON, Portugal — The Latest on wildfires in Europe (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

Greek authorities have requested the loan of water-dropping aircraft from other European Union countries to help fight a major blaze that has been burning fiercely north of Athens for three days.

The fire service also said Tuesday 60 Cypriot firefighters are being flown to Greece to assist.

About 400 firefighters and soldiers, assisted by 12 water-dropping planes and dozens of fire trucks are battling the wildfire between Varnavas and Kalamos, 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Athens.

Nobody has been injured, but at least 20 homes have been damaged.

Firefighters were also battling big blazes in the southern Peloponnese area and the western island of Zakynthos. Arson is suspected in the Zakynthos blazes, while a man was arrested for allegedly planning to set a fire on a mountain northwest of Athens.

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1:20 p.m.

About 350 Greek firefighters and soldiers, assisted by water-dropping planes and dozens of fire trucks are struggling to contain a large wildfire raging for three days through pine forests north of Athens.

Nobody has been injured by the blaze between Varnavas and Kalamos, 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Athens, but at least 20 homes have been damaged.

Officials said inhabited areas weren't in direct danger Tuesday. Nine water-dropping planes and helicopters were leading efforts to stop the fire, which ate deep into some of the few remaining pristine forests near Athens.

A smoky haze from the blaze that started Sunday hung over much of Athens, while ash drifted throughout the capital.

Firefighters were also battling big blazes in the southern Peloponnese area and the western island of Zakynthos.

___

11:20 a.m.

Portuguese officials say 3,000 firefighters are struggling to put out more than 150 raging wildfires in Portugal, as persistent hot and dry weather stoke the flames.

In one case, more than 800 firefighters supported by air units are concentrating Tuesday on extinguishing a large blaze near the central town of Vila dei Rei.

Portuguese public television RTP showed images of towering flames illuminating the night which by morning had left large swathes of scorched forest near the town, where authorities evacuated 112 people Monday.

Civil Protection Agency spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar said Tuesday that 55 people had been injured, including four with serious injuries, in Portugal since Aug. 9.

Portugal has been especially hard hit by wildfires this year because of a drought. The worst outbreak killed 64 people in June.

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