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Desperate Greek farmer fights fire with wine

Published:  23 July, 2008

GREECE: (Reuters) Farmer uses wine to quench fierce flames as water runs dry

George Dimopoulos fought the flames that had engulfed the hamlet of Makistos for 17 hours.

When the power cuts shut down the electric pumps extracting water, Dimopoulos turned to 300 litres of wine to douse the flames.

Makistos, overlooking the southern Peloponnese town of Zakharo, was one of dozens of villages evacuated in five days of fires that killed 63 people and left a trail of destruction.

Of Makistos's 50 residents, seven died in the flames. Nearly all the homes were burnt down.

In the hills above, all that was left of vineyards, pine trees and olive groves were blackened stumps of smoking wood.

Many locals were still living in fear of the fires, which the Government has suggested could be the work of terrorists.

The Government has pledged US$410million (204m) for immediate relief, although the bill is expected to be much higher, the Finance Ministry said.