Brits issued 'emergency alert' after fire rips through popular tourist island

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

British tourists in Greece are on high alert as a ferocious wildfire, stoked by soaring temperatures, rages across one of the nation's islands. The country has been battling severe fires for weeks, exacerbated by hot and arid conditions, with the national fire service bracing for a challenging season.

Amidst the earliest heatwave on record, emergency services are fighting to control the devastating impact of the fires. In Athens, officials have ordered the evacuation of eight districts as multiple fires ignite around the capital's region, Attica, a popular destination for millions of British holidaymakers each year.

The Greek Minister for Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, Vassilis Kikilias, sounded an "emergency alert" late on Sunday evening due to two "extremely dangerous" fires that erupted in the towns of Keratea and Stamata in Attica, propelled by strong winds. He announced: "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." reports the Mirror.

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Vasilis Vathrakogiannis, a representative for the Greek fire service, described it as the "hardest day" of the year for his team during an emergency press conference. He stated: "Today is the hardest that the Fire Brigade has faced in this year's firefighting season."

The popular islands of Chios and Kos were also on high alert, with fires still blazing on Monday, according to WalesOnline. Emergency services issued evacuation orders for the Metohi area in western Chios, advising locals and tourists to seek refuge at a nearby beach.

A warning sent to British holidaymakers read: "If you are in Kardamena Kos move away to Antimachia," and urged tourists to heed instructions from local authorities. Another message from 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 reported deploying 20 firefighters, a helicopter, and several volunteers to combat a brush fire in the island's centre. The Prime Minister of Greece warned in a meeting with top officials that the fires are likely to worsen as the season progresses.

Addressing 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 Prime Minister has described June as "exceptionally difficult", stating: "We have had an exceptionally difficult June regarding weather conditions, with high levels of drought and unusually strong winds for this season."