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Greece wildfires: Popular Lesbos beach resort evacuated

July 23, 2022

A wildfire on the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos destroyed homes. Fire crews also battled to put out blazes in other parts of Greece, where temperatures were set to hit 40 degrees Celsius.

According to firefighters, 50 firefighters with 17 fire engines are battling a blaze, supported by water-dropping aircraft and a helicopter.
Locals try to extinguish a fire burning near the village of Vatera, on the island of LesbosImage: Panagiotis Balaskas/ANE/Eurokinissi/picture alliance

Authorities have evacuated tourists and residents threatened by wildfires on the Greek island of Lesbos.

The blaze that broke out on Saturday morning was burning on two fronts, near the Vrisa village and another inside Vatera.

West Lesbos mayor Taxiarchis Verros ordered the evacuation of the busy Vatera Beach beach resort as a precautionary measure.

"We are battling to save homes," Taxiarchis Verros, mayor of western Lesbos, told state TV ERT.

The broadcaster reported the flames have also destroyed several houses.

Firefighters deployed seven planes and a helicopter to help tackle the blaze. More firefighters from the mainland were on their way to Lesbos to bolster efforts.

Fire brigade units from the mainland Greece were on their way to Lesbos to help fight a large wildfire
Thick billowing smoke could be seen on the Greek island of Lesbos as the wildfire approached the Vatera beach resortImage: Panagiotis Balaskas/ANE/Eurokinissi/picture alliance

Firefighters also battling blaze near Turkish border

Firefighters were also battling a big blaze in the Dadia National Park near the border with Turkey.

The wildfire has been raging for at least three days in the park that is known for its black vulture colony.

Smaller fires were burning on the Peloponnese Peninsula, Greek state radio reported.

Earlier in the week, firefighters managed to bring a blaze on Mount Penteli, to the northeast of the capital Athens, under control.

Greece is suffering a second consecutive summer of wildfires.

Last year, wildfires ravaged about 121,000 hectares (300,000 acres) of forest and bushland across Greece during the country's worst heatwave in 30 years.

The meteorological office warned temperatures would rise to above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some places in Greece on Saturday.

It was expected to get even hotter at the beginning of next week, and the heat will last until the beginning of August, it said.

Heat, drought and wildfires scorch Europe

lo/wd (AFP, dpa, Reuters)