Greece: a forest fire on the island of Lesbos forces tourists and residents to evacuate

Posted23 July 2022, 15:18

GreeceA forest fire on the island of Lesbos forces tourists and residents to evacuate

The fire, which broke out on Saturday morning, destroyed homes in the village of Vatera, a bustling seaside resort. Seven planes and a helicopter were deployed to fight the flames.

The flames spread to the beach, where they charred straw umbrellas and wooden furniture.

REUTERS

Tourists and residents were evacuated from a popular resort on the Greek island of Lesbos on Saturday after a forest fire destroyed homes in the village of Vatera. The fire, which broke out at 10 a.m. on Saturday, was spreading on two fronts, one towards the village of Vrisa and the other towards the interior of Vatera. Firefighters have deployed seven planes and a helicopter to fight the blaze, pending reinforcements to arrive from northern Greece.

The mayor of Lesbos West, Taxiarchis Verros, ordered the evacuation of the bustling resort town as a precaution, on the advice of firefighters, Greek news agency ANA reported. The elected official did not specify the number of people evacuated, but several buses and small boats took part in the operation. At least two houses were ravaged by the flames, according to state television ERT.

Two other fronts

On Saturday, firefighters were also carrying out their third day of fighting a violent fire in Dadia National Park, the country’s largest Natura 2000 site, known for its colony of vultures, in the Evros region, in the northeast of Greece. The emergency services specified that the thick smoke released by the fire had prevented the intervention of the firefighting planes. And on Wednesday, a wildfire in the mountains near Athens damaged homes and forced several hundred people to evacuate.

More than 100 deaths in 2018

In 2018, Greece suffered its worst forest fire disaster: in the coastal suburb of Mati, a fire killed 102 people, a few kilometers from the affected area on Wednesday. A tribute to the victims was paid on Saturday in the town of Mati.

Last year, a heat wave and forest fires destroyed 103,000 hectares and killed three people in Greece. The proliferation of extreme weather events is a direct consequence of global warming according to scientists, with greenhouse gas emissions increasing in intensity, duration and frequency.

(AFP)

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