Greece names seven more regions at risk of ‘extreme fires’

Greece has warned that seven regions across the country are facing “extreme fire risks” as tens of thousands, including Brits, are evacuated. 

The island of Rhodes has been engulfed in flames for six days but the situation became more severe over the weekend. 

The majority of flights to the island have since been cancelled and travel firms, including easyJet and jet2, have said they will only be operating repatriation flights in the coming days to bring back the stranded British holidaymakers. 

Greece is set for more extreme temperatures over the course of the coming week, with forecasts of up to 45C, as many fear for the safety of those remaining on the island and beyond. 

A spokesperson for the local fire services said the flames were contained to “two major fronts” but they could spread if “left unchecked”. 

READ MORE easyJet refuses to stop flying Brit tourists to Rhodes despite wildfire chaos

The Greek Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection issued the “extreme fire risks” to be effective from tomorrow. 

The seven areas in jeopardy include Attica, Evia, Boeotia, Corinthia, Ilia, Argolis, Messinia and Rhodes. 

Hundreds of British holidaymakers are still trapped on the island of Rhodes as they frantically look to find a flight back home. 

Travel firm easyJet said it will operate two repatriation flights from Rhodes on Monday and a third on Tuesday to bring British holidaymakers back to London Gatwick Airport.

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British Embassy officials in Athens urged Brits to leave the area on Saturday evening but flights into Rhodes continue to be cancelled.

Many were forced to flee to high ground late on Saturday night (July 22) to escape the wildfires while others had to sleep on mattresses outside an evacuation camp. 

The island of Rhodes is a popular British tourist destination, particularly in the summer months. 

Yiannis Artopios, a fire service spokesman, said that while only a small percentage of the island’s “hotel infrastructure” had been affected so far, the fires could still spread. 

He said: “The focus now is to contain two major fronts in the south and central part of the island.

“The regions hit so far may account for less than 10 percent of the island’s hotel infrastructure, but if left unchecked the blazes can threaten the remaining 90 percent.”

A UK government spokesperson said five staff from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and four British Red Cross responders had been sent to Rhodes as part of the Rapid Deployment Team.

“We are actively monitoring the fires in Rhodes and are in close contact with local authorities,” the statement read. “The FCDO has deployed a Rapid Deployment Team (RDT) of five FCDO staff and four British Red Cross responders to Rhodes to support British Nationals, whose safety is our top priority.

“They will be based at Rhodes International Airport to assist with travel documents and liaise with Greek authorities and travel operators on the ground.”

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