Wildfire in Greece threatens Ancient Olympia site

by Frederik Pleitgen


Fire crews fought for hours to save the Ancient Olympia Archeological Site. Several planes and helicopters urgently called in to aid in the operation. They managed to keep the blaze at bay, at least for now.

Others were not so lucky, flames rip through a village only a few miles away. While some were forced to evacuate, others could only look on with a sense of complete helplessness.

"I have never seen anything like this, and the Greek authorities can't do anything to help us."

Still the Greek Government says conditions are getting slightly better. And these aircraft are part of the reason. French and Italian planes drop buckets of water on the flames.

Greek authorities say with the arrival of planes like these, they have been able to fight the fires much more effectively. But the situation remains difficult. More than 100 fires are still raging out of control all over this country.

The monumentous task facing firefighters all the more apparent from above. Large parts of the Peleponnesian Peninsula and areas around Athens are burning.

Pictures taken by CNN viewers show the skies over the greek capital darkened by thick smoke.

Afterward, the scorched mountains in Olympia Glow showing the villagers here just how close the flames got to destroying one of the world's most famous cultural sites. Olympia is safe, for the time being.

And while the Greek Government says the situation has improved somewhat, they also say, this crisis is far from over.