Wednesday 18 September 2019

Tourists evacuated from camp as wildfire rages on Greek island

A firefighting helicopter drops water over a forest fire at an area of Marathon town, northeast of Athens, on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. Firefighters fight against a fire at the city of Marathon, as a heatwave that has gripped most of Greece, combined with persistent high winds, has helped ignite dozens of fires. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
A firefighting helicopter drops water over a forest fire at an area of Marathon town, northeast of Athens, on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. Firefighters fight against a fire at the city of Marathon, as a heatwave that has gripped most of Greece, combined with persistent high winds, has helped ignite dozens of fires. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Demetris Nellas

A tourist camp and nearby houses on the southern Greek island of Elafonisos have been evacuated for the second day in a row as a wildfire at a nearby landfill intensified because of strong winds.

Authorities had pronounced the fire "under control" on Saturday night but winds picked up.

In all, 121 firefighters were trying to contain the fire on Sunday, aided by six planes and fire helicopters.

Strong winds and high temperatures have led to dozens of wildfires since Friday across Greece.

On Saturday, the country's Civil Protection Agency informed residents in the most vulnerable areas by text message of the "extreme danger" of the wildfires.

Authorities have warned there will be an increased likelihood of wildfires through Tuesday, across most of southern mainland Greece, in the north Aegean islands and in part of the north-eastern province of Thrace, near the Turkish border.

"This is the first time in my experience that we will be having four straight days of extreme likelihood of wildfires," Major General Spyros Varsamis, head of the firefighting service in the central Macedonia region, said.

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