Welsh holidaymaker on Greek island receives 'emergency alert' for wild fires

The clouds in the sky caused by smoke from the wildfires
-Credit: (Image: UGC)

A Welsh holidaymaker on a break to the Greek island of Kos received an emergency alert as firefighters tackle a blaze nearby. The alert went to their phone at 2.30pm local time on Monday, warning them of a wild fire in the area.

They said that the area was already smelling of smoke and ash and by 5pm local time the sky was covered in white smoke.

The phone message said: "If you are in Kardamena Kos move away to Antimachia," and urged tourists to follow instructions from the local authorities. They also received a message from Tui regarding the fires, which said: "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 next steps."

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The tourist from Wales, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Walesonline: "It was smelling of smoke and ash blowing first about 12/1ish before we saw helicopters filling up with water from the sea then the big smoke in the air at 2.30pm." By 5pm local time, the sky was covered in white smoke that "looked like clouds".

The person also said there was ash on their balcony. However, they added that they have been told the fire isn't close to the hotel. They have not been instructed with any plans to evacuate or leave their hotel at this point.

The emergency alert that the holidaymaker received
Helicopters have been collecting water from the sea to fight the fires

A "severe fire" alert is currently in place for Kos with an estimated 1,657 acres burnt, according to Google. The PA news agency reported that Greece's prime minister warned of a dangerous summer ahead, adding that "people's help" was essential to limiting the impact of wildfires.

Firefighters have also been tackling a wildfire on the island of Chios in the Metohi area. Evacuation orders are in place, urging people to head to a nearby beach.

"We have had an exceptionally difficult June regarding weather conditions, with high levels of drought and unusually strong winds for this season," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday during a cabinet meeting. This year's summer, he said, "is predicted to be particularly dangerous" for wildfires.

Mr Mitsotakis said the use of drones as part of an early warning system for wildfires had been particularly useful this year and credited better co-ordination between authorities and volunteer firefighters for limiting the extent of fire damage so far.

"We are entering the tough core of the anti-fire period, and this will certainly not be won without the help of the public as well, particularly in the field of prevention," Mr Mitsotakis said.

Hot, dry weather combined with strong winds helped fan fires in Greece and Turkey last month. This year's summer is expected to be particularly prone to blazes, following a particularly mild, dry winter. Last year, extensive wildfires in Greece killed more than 20 people.