A massive wildfire on Rhodes has raged since Tuesday afternoon burning down a dense forest. Although firefighters had managed to put out several flare-ups on the island over the last few days, the strong winds and extreme temperatures rekindled the fires on the island's central-eastern side.
Over the last 24 hours, emergency alert messages were sent to residents to evacuate four seaside villages.
At the beaches in both Kiotari and Lardo, coastguard vessels assisted by ferries and private boats transferred people to safe zones. Thousands more people were evacuated over land to other parts of the island.
After hours of effort to save their summer camp business from wildfire in Greece, this family witnessed flames devour everything in a matter of 10-20 seconds. pic.twitter.com/qHc0dNpl4u
Over 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines were operating on the ground, assisted by three planes and five helicopters. The force included 31 firefighters from Slovakia, with five fire engines.
"Less than 10 percent of the island's tourist accommodations" were affected by the evacuation order, local fire department spokesman Yannis Artopios said.
The wildfire on Rhodes is one of hundreds to have broken out across Greece this week, fueled by dry weather and dry conditions due to a second heatwave set to reach 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in central Greece on Sunday.