Wildfires erupt on Greek holiday island as tourists are evacuated from resorts amid 42C Charon heatwave

TERRIFIED tourists are being evacuated from their hotels as raging wildfires are sweeping through a Greek island during Europe’s deadly 42C heatwave Charon.

The massive blaze erupted in Rhodes forcing hundreds to flee after it burned “uncontrollably” through a pine forest in the centre of the island.

Facebook/Forecast Weather GreeceA huge blaze broke out in the island of Rhodes[/caption]

Facebook/Forecast Weather GreeceFirefighters fought all night to tackle the fire while three villages were forced to evacuate[/caption]

ReutersThe fire ripped through a pine forest near the centre of the island[/caption]

At least three villages and a hotel were evacuated an alert by the Fire Service.

The fire broke out on Tuesday afternoon in the area of Apollona and continued spreading through the island today even reaching its centre.

Officials said the fire was “out of control” and already burnt through acres of land.

A crew of 103 firefighters, water-bombing aircraft, and four choppers have been working to tackle the blaze on three fronts.

Authorities have ordered the evacuation of the villages of Eleousa, Salakos, Dimilia, and the mountain of Profitis Ilias, where the Elafos Hotel is located.

Local official Stergios Aggouras told Greek media that the fire has changed course due to strong winds adding that there hasn’t been such a “catastrophe on the island in years.”

It comes as Greece is battling several wildfires that erupted as the country is being hit by scorching temperatures during a heatwave that has swept through southern Europe.

Wildfires continued for a third day near the capital destroying forests and homes as the country is bracing for a new heatwave.

The blaze that broke out in the village of Kouvaras on Monday – 30 miles from Athens- sent hundreds fleeing.

Air water bombers resumed operations over the towns of Mandra, and Loutraki, as firefighters worked through the night to keep flames at bay.

Flames kept roaring back to life as winds constantly changed direction, and thick smoke blanketed the wider area, state ERT TV said.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of three areas, telling residents to head to the town of Megara.

Four aircraft sent from Italy and France joined the efforts today authorities said.

Firefighters across the country, boosted by crews from Romania, Poland and Slovakia, have been deployed to help battle the blazes.

Dozens of homes were gutted and hundreds were forced to flee towering flames which seared through hamlets on Tuesday.

The Greek meteorological service had warned of a heightened risk of fires this week, as the country recovers from the first major heatwave of the summer. A second heatwave was forecast to start on Thursday.

“Conditions are extreme, and are likely to be so for another week,” Kostas Tsigas, head of the fire brigade officers association, told Greece‘s SKAI TV.

Are you near one of the wildfire areas? Email alikikraterou@thesun.co.uk or WhatsApp 07741005808 if you have any information. 

In southern Europe, forecasters have predicted temperatures could pass 46C.

Weather experts have declared 2023 an El Niño year – a natural phenomenon that occurs cyclically and causes fluctuations in the global climate.

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization said it will raise temperatures around the world, and the effect is likely to continue for the rest of the year.

The current bout of heat belongs to a weather system originating in North Africa – an anticyclone dubbed “Charon”.

Charon refers to a character from Ancient Greek mythology – and follows on the heels of another high-pressure weather system, Cerberus, responsible for last week’s sweltering heat.

Holidaymakers and residents across the Mediterranean are being warned to avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine as the mercury rises in countries including Italy, Spain, France and Greece.

France said today the mercury is expected to exceed 40C in parts of the country’s south, including on the Mediterranean holiday island Corsica.

In the Canary Islands, some 400 firefighters battled a blaze that has ravaged 3,500 hectares of forest and forced 4,000 residents to evacuate, with authorities warning people to wear face masks outside due to poor air quality.

Other parts of Spain also saw extreme temperatures with three regions being on red alert.

Meanwhile, the sizzling temperatures in Italy have caused a 25 per cent increase in the number of people at emergency units after suffering dehydration or a heatstroke, according to La Repubblica.

The mercury in Rome hit a sweltering 41.8C as tourists visiting the Colosseum were seen collapsing on the ground.

At least three people are believed to have died in Italy last week.

The extreme weather caused the death of a 44-year-old man who collapsed while painting a zebra crossing in Milan at 40C.

He was rushed to hospital but could not be saved.

And two brothers, aged six and seven, died after they jumped into a reservoir in Manfredonia in southern Italy, reportedly to cool down.

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