Greece: wildfires break out on Corfu and Evia as 19,000 flee Rhodes blazes


Firefighters in Greece were struggling to contain 82 wildfires burning across the country, 64 of which started on Sunday, the hottest day of the summer so far.

As well as huge blazes on the island of Rhodes, which forced 19,000 to flee, wildfires also broke out on the islands of Evia and Corfu.

On Evia, authorities told residents of four southern villages to evacuate to the town of Karystos, west of where the fire was advancing.

Central Greece vice-governor Giorgos Kelaiditis, who was near one of the villages, told state agency ANA-MPA that the situation was difficult. “The fire may be 2km (1.2 miles) away, but the wind is strong, the growth is low, the smoke thick and the air is hard to breathe,” he said. Northern Evia was devastated by wildfires in August 2021.

Other fires requiring evacuations broke out on the north-east side of the island of Corfu and in the northern Peloponnese region, near the town of Aigio. Traffic on the old Athens-Patras national road, running across the coast, has been cut off.

Just before midnight on Sunday, authorities called for more evacuations from Corfu and the northern Peloponnese. In the case of Corfu, they said the fire was “moving southeast on a broad front” and added that private vessels were on standby to pick up evacuees.

A fire that broke out west of the important archaeological site of Epidaurus, including a famous ancient theatre, had been partly contained, the fire service said.