Firefighters, soldiers and volunteers continued to battle hundreds of fires across Greece Sunday as the government awaited help from Russian water-bombing aircraft.
Exhausted firefighters with the help of soldiers and volunteers were trying to contain fires in western Macedonia and the north- eastern regions of Kastoria, Kavala, Drama, Florina, Thesprotia, Konitsa and Pieria.
Flames were burning through thousands of acres of forest in what had proved one of the hottest summers on record.
A 50-kilometre-wide wildfire out of control for the past five days along the northern coastline of the Peloponnese still showed no signs of abating.
Over 100 homes were reported damaged while over 70,000 acres of forest had been burned over the past days, where four elderly people died.
Other fires were reported on the Ionion islands of Kefallonia and Hios as well as Lakonia and the island of Elefsina.
Since the beginning of June hundreds of fires have destroyed over thousands of acres of forest and taken the lives of five firefighters.
Officials said dozens of fires, which were quickly sweeping through pine and cypress forests and olive groves.
With fire departments understaffed and overworked, the government called in army conscripts to help battle the fires and pleaded for help from the European Union and foreign governments.
Russian President Vladimir Putin promised the Greek government to help following contacts with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
The first of two Russian BE-200 water bombing aircraft and two helicopters were expected to land in the northern port city of Thessaloniki later Sunday.
Greece lost one of its planes and two pilots last week in a crash on the island of Evia. Authorities said the accident was probably due to pilot fatigue.
Dry weather conditions and record-high temperatures have caused more than 2,000 forest fires since the beginning of June. Forest rangers have been placed on 24-hour patrol until summer's end.
Six consecutive days of scorching temperatures that reached 45 degrees Celsius last week contributed to the deaths of two people on Wednesday and sent hundreds of others to hospital.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Temmuz 2007, 11:09