Tourists evacuated from Greek island camp as wildfire rages

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A tourist camp and nearby houses on the southern Greek island of Elafonisos were evacuated Sunday 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” Saturday night, but winds picked up. In all, 121 firefighters were trying to contain the fire Sunday, aided by six airplanes and fire helicopters.

Elafonisos, a 19 square kilometer (7 square mile) island well-known for its sandy beaches, has a population of about 350e but is visited by over 3,000 tourists daily during the summer.

Strong winds and high temperatures have helped dozens of wildfires break out since Friday across Greece. Early Saturday, the country’s Civil Protection Agency informed residents in the most vulnerable areas by text message of the “extreme danger” of the wildfires.

Greek 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 northeastern 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 Gen. Spyros Varsamis, head of the firefighting service in the central Macedonia region, told The Associated Press. He is a 25-year veteran of the service.

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