Greece: Tourists told to escape Lesbos ripped apart by wildfires

At least 50 firefighters were deployed to the Greek island on Saturday morning (Picture: Reuters/Getty)

Hundreds of people have been evacuated after a wildfire broke out on the Greek island of Lesbos.

At least 50 firefighters rushed to the beachside village of Vatera, near Turkey, on Saturday morning, with volunteers drafted to help.

Authorities ordered tourists and residents to flee as flames got dangerously close, fanned by strong winds.

‘We are battling to save homes,’ Mayor Taxiarchis Verros told local media.

According to police, 450 people from two hotels and 92 homes left the area.

Officers were also scouring the villages for any locals refusing to move.

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The smoke of a wildfire billows as it approaches the coastal resort of Vatera

The smoke of a wildfire billows as it approaches the coastal resort of Vatera (Picture: AFP)
A volunteer firefighter tries to extinguish high-rising flames in the village (Picture: Reuters)
An injured firefighter is carried away (Picture: Reuters)
Residents were evacuated as the wildfire threatened properties (Picture: AFP)

More than five hours after an emergency text message was sent to residents, the evacuation was still ‘ongoing’, fire service spokesperson Yannis Artopoios said.

He added that 17 fire engines, nine special firefighting planes and one helicopter were deployed to the scene.

Photographs show scorched homes and damage to a beach bar and umbrellas, with smoke still billowing.

One firefighter was also injured as the blaze engulfed Vatera.

Temperatures in the Balkan country have been steadily rising above 40°С, amid fears such terrifying incidents will become more common in the heat.

A man tries to extinguish a fire at a property (Picture: Reuters)
A police officer pours water on flames as they spread around him (Picture: Reuters)
A firefighting helicopter makes a water drop in Vatera (Picture: Reuters)
Destroyed sunbeds and umbrellas are all that’s left at a beach bar (Picture: Reuters)

Although no stranger to wildfires, officials said this summer has been particularly difficult on the emergency services, with fires currently raging in the north, south and east of Greece.

In the north, firefighters and volunteers are battling fast-spreading flames in the Dadia National Park, a protected nature reserve.

Last year saw wildfires ravaging about 121,000 hectares of forest across Greece during its worst heatwave for 30 years.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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