Large fire on Rhodes has locals on high alert

A large fire on the southeastern end of the Aegean island of Rhodes, a popular tourist destination, was testing the strengths of the fire service as it burned for a second day on Sunday, fanned by strong winds that saw it approaching residential areas.

The deputy chief of the national fire service, Vassilis Papageorgiou, flew to the island on Saturday evening, several hours after the blaze broke out, to coordinate the fire-fighting operation, while officers and equipment were also flown in from Thessaloniki and other parts of Greece to assist.

By Sunday afternoon, the fire had reached the outskirts of villages of Vati, Gennadio and Lachania, with authorities warning residents that they should be prepared to evacuate if the order is given. Dozens of residents in the general vicinity have already opted to leave their homes, after the flames engulfed a residence outside the village of Istrios while its owner was away.

No injuries had been reported by Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the regional governor for the southern Aegean, Yiannis Macheridis, has called on residents with agricultural vehicles to assist firefighters in their efforts.

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