Strong winds are making it difficult to fight forest fires on the Greek holiday island of Rhodes. Six villages north and west of the ancient site of Lindos are under threat. Firefighting planes and helicopters were used again at first light to get the flames under control, according to the fire brigade.
"The extinguishing work is very difficult (on Rhodes) because of the turning winds," said a spokesman for the fire brigade on state radio. Fires are also raging around the port city of Karystos on the island of Euboea in northeast Athens, threatening villages.
Travel companies bring vacationers back early
German travel companies have now brought thousands of holidaymakers back home early because of the forest fires on Rhodes. Industry leader Tui spoke of several thousand guests from different countries. On Tuesday there was another special flight to Germany, after the four flights that had already taken place on Monday, as a Tui spokesman said on request. He did not give details.
The second in the industry, DER Touristik, has canceled all trips to the south of Rhodes up to and including Saturday. For all other regions on the island, the company offers free cancellations and changes for arrivals up to and including Saturday. Overall, a low four-digit number of the organizer's guests were evacuated, they are currently in accommodation and hotels, the company said. Vacationers who wanted to travel home early had been rebooked and some had already returned to Germany on special flights.
Temperatures over 40 degrees
According to the weather office, temperatures will be well above 40 degrees in large parts of Greece on Tuesday and especially on Wednesday. In the west of the country, the meteorologists are supposed to get hotter than 46 degrees on Wednesday. A drop to around 35 degrees is expected on Thursday.
Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of Citizen Protection, investigations have been launched to clarify how these fires started. The judiciary is also determining whether the fire brigade acted correctly when the fire in the south-east of Rhodes was still small, state television reported.
However, representatives of the police and fire service unions dampened expectations that those responsible would be found at all. Experience has shown that the chances are low that those who intentionally and secretly set fire would be identified, said the unions on state radio.
In most cases in the past it was determined that the arson had been caused by negligence. In Athens, for example, a major fire broke out in the west of the city at the beginning of July. Two men were ultimately blamed; According to the investigation, they had carried out welding work outdoors.
According to initial estimates by experts, around 150 square kilometers of forest and agricultural land have been destroyed in the recent fires on Rhodes. In addition, according to estimates by animal rights activists, numerous deer, turtles and other wild and farm animals have died.
Rhodes has a native species of fallow deer called Dama-Dama. Many of these animals burned. Animals that survived are now looking for food and water in inhabited regions, state television reported. Animal rights activists called on the people of Rhodes on the radio to leave food and drinking water in their gardens so that the deer could strengthen themselves. The Dama-Dama also live in Mesopotamia. It is unclear when and how they came to Rhodes.
Elsewhere in Greece there are fires in the Peloponnese peninsula near the port town of Egion and on the island of Corfu. However, these fires have been contained and do not threaten any inhabited areas, according to the fire department.