Lesbos wildfire rages as tourists and residents told to leave town on Greek island

·1-min read

A wildfire has broken out on the Greek island of Lesbos, with authorities urging people to leave a popular tourist town.

The fire began on Saturday morning, according to the Cyprus Reporter, adding the resort town of Vatera was "engulfed" by flames.

Homes and tourist properties were evacuated in the area, with buses and boats provided to help people leave.

The local fire department said in an emergency briefing that 50 firefighters were battling the blaze, which is being fanned by strong winds. Volunteers have also been assisting in fighting the fire.

Local media outlet Iefimerida said that flames had been reaching the sea in some places, and that several properties have already been destroyed, with the coastguard reportedly rescuing nine people from the beach.

Vatera, an 8km (five miles) long stretch of beach, is a popular tourist destination on the island, with many holiday homes in the resort town.

It comes as fires rage in Athens on the Greek mainland, which have forced hundreds of people to flee their homes.

Although no strangers to wildfires, officials in the country have said that this summer is one of the toughest ever in the Mediterranean.

Temperatures across Europe have soared in the last week, with the UK even experiencing wildfires after the mercury topped 40.3C for the first time ever.

French and Spanish authorities have also been dealing with wildfires due to searing heat.

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