Hundreds of holidaymakers have been forced to flee their hotels as out-of-control wildfires continue to scorch the Greek island of Rhodes.
Dozens of private boats helped the coastguard evacuate around 1,000 people from beaches close to the resorts of Kiotari and Lardos in the south east on Saturday.
Tourists described chaos on social media, with Paul Karlburgi writing: ‘Currently stranded in Rhodes escaping the wildfires on foot – left everything at the hotel and fled with towels across our faces.
‘My youngest just told me he doesn’t want to die. No news from any authorities. Terrifying situation here.’
Nikita Bassi added on Twitter: ‘Arrived in Rhodes this morning to be told that wild fires have spread throughout and our hotel has been evacuated.
‘No hotels anywhere for us to go and now looking for a flight home as news says the fires are getting worse around Greece. Help. Crying. Throwing up.’
Firefighters, backed by air water bombers and reinforcements from Slovakia, have struggled to contain new outbreaks of the wildfire, which has burned for days aided by strong winds.
The blaze, which has charred huge swathes of woodland since breaking out in a mountainous area on Tuesday, damaged three hotels in Kiotari on Saturday.
The risk of wildfires on Rhodes and other areas across Greece remains very high, with temperatures expected to hit a stifling 45C on Sunday.
Fires are common in Greece but hotter, drier and windy summers have turned the country into a tinderbox in recent years.
Fire Service spokesman Yannis Artopios said the blaze in Rhodes is the most dangerous of several burning across Greece.
One northwest of Athens and another near Sparta are easing, he said, although others may still erupt.
Meteorologists have warned that the current sweltering temperatures are expected to last until the end of the month.
There will be a brief respite in the current heatwave on Monday, but it will resume Tuesday and could last until at least Friday, forecasters added.
A wildfire raged uncontrolled on the Greek island of Rhodes on Saturday, forcing hundreds of people to flee affected villages and beaches, authorities said.
Coastguard vessels and more than 20 private boats took part in an operation to evacuate about 1,000 people from beaches close to the areas of Kiotari and Lardos in the southeastern part of the island, a coastguard official said.
Firefighters, backed by air water bombers and reinforcements by Slovakia, struggled with new outbreaks of the wildfire, which has burned for days and was fanned by strong winds.
The fire has scorched swathes of forest since breaking out in a mountainous area on Tuesday. It damaged three hotels in the seaside village of Kiotari on Saturday, according to the Athens News Agency.
Civil protection authorities have warned of a very high risk of wildfires on Rhodes and other areas in Greece on Sunday, as temperatures were expected to hit 45 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) amid a heatwave.
Fires are common in Greece but hotter, drier and windy summers have turned the country into a wildfire hotspot in recent years. Meteorologists have warned that the current sweltering temperatures are expected to last until the end of the month.
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