Wildfire burns coastal homes, businesses, on Lesbos

STORY: Thick billowing smoke fanned by strong winds could be seen in the area as firefighters were joined by local residents dousing the flames with buckets of water.

Vatera, an 8 km (5 miles) long sandy beach in the southern part of Lesbos, is a popular tourist attraction.

Reuters video showed homes burning in the village of Vatera, while a beach bar on the shore was damaged by fire, with rows of beach sun umbrellas and chairs along the shore burned.

In the last days the country has been plagued by several fires spread by strong winds, making firefighting efforts more difficult.

A wildfire in mountains near Athens earlier this week damaged homes and forced hundreds of people to flee, with authorities calling this summer one of the toughest in the Mediterranean.

Last year, wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland across Greece during the country's worst heatwave in 30 years.

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