ATHENS (Reuters) -A man died on Friday as several forest fires fanned by gale-force winds battered Greece's southern tip and forced evacuations, the fire brigade said.

The man, 55, was injured in a blaze in the region of Ilia on the Peloponnese peninsula and died at a hospital, said a fire service official.

Dozens of firefighters assisted by aircraft were deployed to tame forest fires in Ilia, the nearby Achaia region and near the town of Kranidi, also in Peloponnese.

Residents of several villages in those areas were told to flee their homes as blazes approached.

Wildfires are common in the Mediterranean country, but they have become more devastating as summers have become hotter and drier, which scientists relate to climate change.

Winds of up to 95 kph (60 mph) were hampering operations of firefighting aircraft, Greek fire brigade spokesperson Vasilis Vathrakogiannis said.

"All civil protection forces have been on alert today," he told a televised briefing, as around 45 wildfires broke out in the country within a few hours.

One forest fire that briefly threatened houses at a coastal town close to the capital Athens was contained earlier on Friday, the fire brigade said.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Renee MaltezouEditing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Frances Kerry)