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Rhodes visitors on fire alert

- by Archimedes

Rhodes holiday visitors on fire alert.

Holiday visitors to the popular resort of Lindos on Rhodes are on a state of alert as wildfires threaten to spread. The annual round of forest fires on the Greek islands has hit yet again at the height of the summer holiday tourist season. Firefighters have managed to contain wildfire outbreaks on the islands of Rhodes, Crete and Serifos after battling big fires for several days.

But in Rhodes, the fires threatened to run out of control as they headed north in the direction of the village of Vati and Apolakkia.

The General Secretary for Civil Protection has declared a state of emergency in South Rhodes and in the major holiday resort of Lindos as the fire could threaten inhabited areas.

Other fire outbreaks were reported in the villages Profilia, Istrio and Laerma, but they were quickly brought under control.

According forest services more than 30,000 acres of forest land have already been lost in the blaze.

In Crete a forest fire in Messara was under partial control but flared up again as the wind changed. Two helicopters were brought in to help contain the outbreak.

The blaze burned greenhouses and crops and threatened to reach nearby houses and residents of the village of Andiskari were evacuated.

The situation in Serifos is thought to be under control but only after villagers were forced to flee their homes.

People living in region of Mega Livadi were evacuated by boat after fire spread across the main road. Villages at Koutalas and Mega Livadi were evacuated.

There is no permanent fire service on the island and locals could only stand and watch as the fire spread. Some residents carrying suitcases jumped into the water to avoid the flames.

"It was the worst fire ever on the island," some residents said.