A huge wildfire has broken out on the outskirts of Mount Hymettus, near capital Athens, Greece on Friday, July 17 rapidly spreading over mountainsides overlooking the city and blanketing it in thick smoke.

The fire started around 09:00 UTC (12:00 local time) and grew massively with 30 minutes, reaching houses in the southern suburb of Kareas and forcing evacuations.

According to the Independent, residents wrote on Twitter that people were trying to fight the blaze with their own hoses and buckets of water as it threatened homes, with people already fleeing Ilioupolis, at the foot of Mount Hymettus.

The Greek energy minister, Panagiotis Lafazanis, received an angry reception on his arrival in the suburb of Karea, where residents reportedly heckled the politician, telling him to go and put the fire out instead of talking to the television camera

At least four other wildfires broke out across the country today, including one north of the Greek capital, AP reports.

Flames are being fed by strong winds forcing the evacuation of villages and summer camps. About 200 people trapped by one fire were plucked off a beach by rescue boats.

In all, firefighters were battling 49 fire fronts today, mainly in southern Greece and near the capital. 

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Greece has requested help from his country's army and air force, as well as the European emergency response center.

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