British tourists issued 'emergency alert' as vicious fire spreads across Greek islands

Greek firefighters
-Credit: (Image: Anadolu via Getty Images)

British tourists have been issued an 'emergency alert' as a vicious fire caused by intense local temperatures continues to sweep through a Greek island.

Hot, dry conditions have fuelled horror blazes across the country over the last few weeks, with the national fire service preparing for another difficult summer ahead. Emergency services are currently battling through the earliest heatwave on record, the consequences of which have already proven disastrous, reports the Mirror.

Eight areas around Athens have been evacuated by authorities, with multiple fires developing in the Greek capital's region, Attica. The peninsula is one of Greece's most tourist-laden areas, with several million Britons choosing the historic, sun-kissed locality for their holiday each year.

Late on Sunday, Vassilis Kikilias, the Greek government's Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister issued an emergency warning as two "extremely dangerous" blazes broke out in smaller Attican towns. He said: "Today in Attica two extremely dangerous fires that broke out in residential areas and spread rapidly due to strong winds in Keratea and Stamata were tackled."

-Credit:Anadolu via Getty Images
-Credit:Anadolu via Getty Images

Vasilis Vathrakogiannis, a spokesman for the Greek fire service, said during an emergency press briefing on the same day that it was the "hardest day" of the year so far for his team. He said: "Today is the hardest that the Fire Brigade has faced in this year’s firefighting season."

The similarly popular islands of Chios and Kos were also subject to warnings, with fires still continuing on Monday, WalesOnline reports. Emergency services issued evacuation orders for the Metohi area in western Chios, informing locals and holidaymakers to make their way to a nearby beach for shelter.

One message sent to Brit holidaymakers read: "If you are in Kardamena Kos move away to Antimachia," and urged tourists to follow instructions from the local authorities". Another fro, TUI added: "We are currently on standby and awaiting information from civil protection. Please liaise with your hotel reception teams who are in touch with local authorities to get advice on the next steps."

On Kos, the Hellenic Fire Service said it had deployed 20 firefighters, a helicopter, and a number of volunteers who had joined to tackle a brush fire in the island's centre. The fires are only expected to intensify as the season continues, Greece's Prime Minister said in a meeting with top officials. Speaking to his cabinet, he said: "It is a summer which is expected to be particularly dangerous [for wildfires]... the most difficult times are still ahead of us."

The Greek PM added that June has already proven "exceptionally difficult", saying: "We have had an exceptionally difficult June regarding weather conditions, with high levels of drought and unusually strong winds for this season."

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