Several forest fires, fuelled by strong winds, are raging around Greece's capital, Athens, damaging homes, disrupting major transport links and sending people fleeing for their lives. Authorities on Monday declared a state of emergency in two areas near Athens and said Greece would call on the European Union for assistance. The first blaze broke out in a forest near the coastal settlement of Kineta, some 55km west of the capital. Residents were urged to abandon their homes as the ferocious fire closed one of Greece's busiest motorways, shut train services and sent plumes of smoke over the capital. Later in the late afternoon, a large fire also erupted north and east of Athens.