Fire breaks out in Evia, monastery evacuated

A monastery was evacuated and the residents of three villages were told to be ready to leave after a big fire broke out in a forested area of central Evia early Tuesday morning.

The fire service was alerted shortly after 3 a.m. on a blaze in the the area of Agrilitsa, in the municipality of Dirfys-Messapia, and send 80 firemen with 39 vehicles, who are assisted by four aircraft and two helicopters.

Authorities evacuated the Monastery of Panagia Makrymallis for precautionary reasons and the villages of Agrilitsa, Kondodespoti and Makrymalli are on alert, TV channel SKAI reported.

It said the fire-fighting effort was hindered by the strong winds blowing in the area and the rough terrain. 

The smoke from the blaze reached all the way to Athens, covering parts of the city with haze.