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Wildfires in Greece destroy forests, spur evacuations

Fires are raging across Greece , destroying forests on Rhodes and gutting homes close to the capital, Athens.

The fires gathered momentum on Wednesday as a new heatwave loomed and threatened to stoke even further already dangerous conditions across the country.

Fire-fighters backed with air water bombers battled a resurgence of flames west of Athens, which prompted mass evacuations on Tuesday.

Fresh evacuation orders were issued on Wednesday for three areas threatened by encroaching flames.

On the island of Rhodes, authorities sent reinforcements to combat a fire which erupted in a densely wooded mountainous area and ordered the evacuation of three villages as a precaution.

“The biggest front now is the fire on Rhodes, its not close to villages but it is big,” a fire brigade official said.

A recent Reuters report says fires are common in Greece, but hotter and drier summers have turned the Mediterranean into a wildfire hotspot in recent years.

Writing by Tony Okerafor