Greek Island Of Rhodes

Wildfire Forces Evacuation of Tourists and Residents on Greek Island of Rhodes


A devastating wildfire continues to wreak havoc on the picturesque Greek island of Rhodes, forcing authorities to initiate emergency evacuations for the safety of both residents and tourists. The relentless blaze has been raging for five days, and as it spreads towards the coast, it threatens not only the island’s natural beauty but also the livelihoods of those who call it home.

Amidst the danger, heroic efforts have been made to evacuate approximately 2,000 people, including vacationers, by sea to safer locations. This harrowing situation calls for immediate action, and firefighting teams from both Greece and other European countries are uniting to combat the inferno.

The Evacuation Efforts

As the wildfire’s intensity grew, authorities made the difficult decision to evacuate four locations on the island, which included two popular seaside resorts. The safety of the residents and tourists was the top priority, and the fire department, along with coast guard vessels, an army lifeboat, a special forces inflatable craft, and private sailboats, worked tirelessly to conduct the evacuations. Remarkably, the process was carried out without any reported incidents, ensuring that all visitors were safely transported away from the danger zones.

Assistance from Blue Star Shipping Company

In a heartwarming display of solidarity, the private passenger shipping company, Blue Star, stepped up to offer one of its ships to accommodate some of the evacuees. This generous act provided much-needed relief to the overwhelmed rescue teams, allowing them to focus on further evacuations and firefighting efforts. Despite the challenges posed by the rapidly spreading flames, the collaborative response demonstrated the power of unity during times of crisis.

Firefighting Efforts and Challenges

More than 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines, including assistance from Slovakia, have been battling the wildfire on the ground, supported by three planes and five helicopters from the air. The main front of the fire forms a triangular shape, with two points dangerously close to the sea and the third in the mountainous region. Satellite imagery revealed that each side of the triangle measures over 10 kilometers long, underlining the vast scale of the disaster.

The Curse of Wildfires in Greece

Sadly, the wildfire on Rhodes is not an isolated incident. Greece is facing multiple active fires, with one northwest of Athens and another near Sparta causing concern. While the blaze near Athens and Sparta appears to be subsiding, the risk of further fires remains high due to soaring temperatures, low humidity, and dry conditions.

The fire department has categorized extensive regions, including the eastern mainland, the islands of Evia and Rhodes, and significant portions of the southwest, as Category 5, indicating an imminent risk of fire outbreaks.

Climate Change and Fire Season

Experts believe that the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires in Greece and other parts of the world are closely linked to climate change. As global temperatures rise, the risk of prolonged heatwaves and extreme weather events escalates, creating favorable conditions for wildfires to thrive.

Despite efforts to combat the flames, the situation remains challenging, with meteorologists warning that the current heatwave may persist until at least Friday.

International Aid and Cooperation

In the face of this crisis, several European Union countries have rallied to support Greece by providing firefighting assistance.

Firefighting teams from eight EU nations are already on the ground, while Israel, Jordan, and Turkey have also dispatched reinforcements, primarily in the form of aerial equipment. The international response underscores the significance of global cooperation in tackling climate-related emergencies.

As the wildfire on Rhodes continues to spread and threaten both lives and the environment, the evacuation and firefighting endeavors are a testament to human resilience and solidarity. However, the situation also serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to address climate change and its devastating consequences.

The people of Rhodes and other affected regions deserve our support, and we must collectively work towards sustainable solutions to prevent future catastrophes. Let this calamity be a wake-up call to take meaningful action against the curse of wildfires that afflict our planet.

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