An airplane drops water over a wildfire near Halkida town on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. More than a thousand firefighters battled wildfires Tuesday in Greece, with the largest burning out of control through a nature reserve on the island of Evia north of Athens causing four villages and a monastery to be evacuated. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek firefighters backed by water-dropping planes and helicopters were battling a wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the island of Evia for a second day Wednesday, where hundreds of people had been evacuated from four villages and a monastery.

The six planes and five helicopters were concentrating on areas where access to the island's dense pine forest, which includes canyons, was difficult by land. More than 250 firefighters, dozens of soldiers and volunteers were battling the wildfire that broke out at 3 a.m. Tuesday.

A state of emergency was declared for the area on Tuesday, when strong winds had hampered firefighting and carried smoke from Greece's second-largest island as far as the capital, Athens, some 75 kilometers (47 miles) to the south.

The winds died down somewhat Wednesday and authorities expressed cautious optimism about the progression of the fire, although it had still not been brought under control.

"Things are better, but ... no complacency is allowed and I would ask everyone to carefully follow the orders and directions of the civil protection authority and the fire department," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a visit to the area.

Authorities said around 28 square kilometers (2,800 hectares) had been burnt by mid-day Wednesday. One volunteer firefighter who suffered burns remained hospitalized Wednesday.

Thanking firefighters for their efforts, Mitsotakis said "drastic interventions" would be made in the way that civil protection operates.

"I am satisfied by the level of coordination but there is still other work that needs to be done," he said. "We know that wildfires will be with us. They will be part, as they have always been, of our daily life as climate change is taking its toll on southern Europe."

Vasilis Pirgos, a villager from Kontodespoti, one of the four villages evacuated Tuesday, said they had "tried with every means we had to control the fire and for it not to enter the village and burn the houses. Thankfully we had support from the air. We had many helicopters over the village dropping water continuously and we managed to save the houses."

Greece called on the European civil protection system for help and Italy and Croatia pledged four firefighting planes.

Michalis Chrisochoidis, Greece's citizens' protection minister, said authorities had "managed to protect people's lives ... and save the people's properties."

Forest fires are common in Greece during the hot, dry summer months. Authorities have repeatedly warned the public not to engage in outdoor activities that could cause fires, such as welding work, burning weeds or lighting campfires and barbecues. Parks and forest areas are closed at times of high fire risk.

Last year, more than 100 people died when a fast-moving forest fire broke out in a seaside area northeast of Athens and raged through the vacation-home settlement of Mati. The wildfire trapped people in their cars as they attempted to flee. Other victims drowned as they jumped into the sea to get away from the heat and choking smoke.

___

Srdjan Nedeljkovic in Evia, Greece, contributed to this report.

The trunk of a tree burns after a wildfire in Kontodespoti village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. More than a thousand firefighters battled wildfires Tuesday in Greece, with the largest burning out of control through a nature reserve on the island of Evia north of Athens causing four villages and a monastery to be evacuated. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
An airplane drops water over a wildfire near Halkida town on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. More than a thousand firefighters battled wildfires Tuesday in Greece, with the largest burning out of control through a nature reserve on the island of Evia north of Athens causing four villages and a monastery to be evacuated. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Airplanes operate during a wildfire as man takes photographs near Halkida town on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. More than a thousand firefighters battled wildfires Tuesday in Greece, with the largest burning out of control through a nature reserve on the island of Evia north of Athens causing four villages and a monastery to be evacuated. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
An airplane operates over a wildfire in Stavros village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Water-dropping planes and helicopters have resumed work at first light over a major wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the Greek island of Evia, where hundreds of people were evacuated from four villages and a monastery. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
An helicopter operates over a wildfire in Makrymalli village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Water-dropping planes and helicopters have resumed work at first light over a major wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the Greek island of Evia, where hundreds of people were evacuated from four villages and a monastery. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
The trunk of a tree burns after a wildfire in Kontodespoti village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. More than a thousand firefighters battled wildfires Tuesday in Greece, with the largest burning out of control through a nature reserve on the island of Evia north of Athens causing four villages and a monastery to be evacuated. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
An helicopter operates over a wildfire in Makrymalli village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Water-dropping planes and helicopters have resumed work at first light over a major wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the Greek island of Evia, where hundreds of people were evacuated from four villages and a monastery. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Firefighters try to extinguish a wildfire in Makrymalli village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Water-dropping planes and helicopters have resumed work at first light over a major wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the Greek island of Evia, where hundreds of people were evacuated from four villages and a monastery. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Firefighters try to extinguish a wildfire in Makrymalli village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Water-dropping planes and helicopters have resumed work at first light over a major wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the Greek island of Evia, where hundreds of people were evacuated from four villages and a monastery. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Burned cars are seen after a wildfire in Makrymalli village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Water-dropping planes and helicopters have resumed work at first light over a major wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the Greek island of Evia, where hundreds of people were evacuated from four villages and a monastery. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Burned beehives are seen after a wildfire in Stavros village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Water-dropping planes and helicopters have resumed work at first light over a major wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the Greek island of Evia, where hundreds of people were evacuated from four villages and a monastery. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Smoke rises from a burned forest after a wildfire in Stavros village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Water-dropping planes and helicopters have resumed work at first light over a major wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the Greek island of Evia, where hundreds of people were evacuated from four villages and a monastery. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Smoke rises from a burned forest after a wildfire in Kontodespoti village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. More than a thousand firefighters battled wildfires Tuesday in Greece, with the largest burning out of control through a nature reserve on the island of Evia north of Athens causing four villages and a monastery to be evacuated. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis arrives at the Fire Department operation mobile center during a wildfire on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Water-dropping planes and helicopters resumed flights at first light Wednesday over a major wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the Greek island of Evia, where hundreds of people had been evacuated from four villages and a monastery. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)
An helicopter operates near Platanias village on the Greek island of Evia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Water-dropping planes and helicopters have resumed work at first light over a major wildfire burning through a protected nature reserve on the Greek island of Evia, where hundreds of people were evacuated from four villages and a monastery. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)