Thousands more evacuated as Rhodes wildfire continues to rage

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The wildfire racing across the Greek island of Rhodes for a week now continued to rage uncontained on Monday evening, Ekathimerini has reported.

The wildfire has so far burned an estimated 34,200 hectares.

Things took a turn for the worse on Monday as the fire tore past defences and more evacuations were ordered, in the central and southern parts of the island.

A firefighter tries to extinguish a wildfire in Asklipio village on Rhodes island. Photo: Aristidis Vafeiadakis/Zuma/Shutterstock.

The latest evacuations were ordered in south Rhodes after 19,000 people, mostly tourists, were moved in buses and boats over the weekend out of the path of the fire. It was the country’s biggest evacuation effort in recent years.

“We are at war – completely focused on the fires,” Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a debate in Parliament. “Over the coming days and weeks, we must remain on constant alert.”

Wildfires are also raging on the islands of Corfu and Evia and on the mainland, notably in the Peloponnese, southern Greece. 

Overnight, an estimated 2,466 citizens had fled dwellings in 17 villages along Corfu’s northern coast, while hundreds had been forced to evacuate communities on Evia.

These fires come as Greece experienced the hottest temperatures in 50 years at the weekend, with the mercury reaching 45 degree Celsius in the central region of Thessaly.

A wildfire burns at the Trapeza village, in Achaia in the Peloponnese. Photo: Giota Lotsari/EPA.

Temperatures are set to climb again on Tuesday after a day of relative respite.

The Fire Service has announced that most of the island of Crete, with the exception of the regional unit of Hania, as well as Rhodes and the nearby islands, are facing an extreme risk (Category 5, the highest) of new fire outbreaks.

Source: Ekathimerini.

READ MORE: Australian helicopters join fight against wildfires in Greece.

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