New Evacuations Ordered In Greece As High Winds And Heat Fuel Wildfires

RHODES, Greece (AP) — A weeklong wildfire on the Greek island of Rhodes tore past defenses Monday, forcing more evacuations, as three major fires raged elsewhere in the country fueled by strong winds and successive heat waves.

The latest evacuations were ordered in south Rhodes after 19,000 people, mostly tourists, were moved in buses and boats over the weekend out of the path of the fire that reached several coastal areas from nearby mountains. Help continued to arrive from the European Union and elsewhere, with Turkish firefighting planes joining the effort in Rhodes, where eight water-dropping planes and 10 helicopters buzzed over flames up to five meters (16 feet) tall despite low visibility.

“The risk of fire will be extreme in several areas of Greece today,” Fire Service spokesperson Vassilis Vathrakogiannis said a day after temperatures on the southern Greek mainland soared as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).

Firefighters, volunteers and police officers operate as a wildfire burns near the village of Asklipieio, on the island of Rhodes, Greece, on July 24, 2023.

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