The fire situation in Greece is increasingly dramatic. Firefighters are struggling to contain 82 blazes across the country, 64 of which started yesterday, the hottest day of the summer so far. In addition to the vast fire that is ravaging the island of Rhodes, which has forced 19,000 people to flee, the flames also broke out on the island of Corfu, where 17 villages were evacuated and the Coast Guard rescued 59 people who were on Nisaki beach.
In Evia, authorities have told residents of four southern villages to evacuate to the town of Karystos, west of where the fire was advancing. Deputy Governor of Central Greece Giorgos Kelaiditis, who was near one of the villages, told state agency Ana-Mpa that the situation was difficult. “The fire may be 2km away, but the wind is strong, the smoke is thick and the air is hard to breathe,” he said.
Other fires have broken out in the northern Peloponnese region, near the city of Aigio. Traffic on the old Athens-Patras state road, which crosses the coast, has been disrupted. Shortly before midnight yesterday, the authorities called for further evacuations from Corfu and the northern Peloponnese. In the case of Corfu, they said the fire was “moving southeast on a broad front” and added that private vessels were standing by to pick up the evacuees. A fire has broken out west of the archaeological site of Epidaurus, firefighters said. The Ministry of Climate Change and Civil Protection said the emergency in Rhodes had triggered “the largest fire evacuation in the country”.