Thousands of tourists urgently evacuated from hotels in British holiday hotspot as wildfires rage out of control

Tourists are evacuated as wildfires rage on

Rhodes is an area of particular concern for authorities

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 22/07/2023

- 18:50

Updated: 23/07/2023

- 14:29

The island is a particular area of concern for authorities

Thousands of tourists have been evacuated from homes and hotels in a popular tourist destination for Britons as fires continue to spread.

Greece’s fire service have taken measures to remove people from homes and hotels on the island of Rhodes.

The country’s deputy fire chief said the fires on Rhodes are the most difficult his service is currently facing.

The Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection in Greece have reported no injuries.

Tourists sat on the roadside after being evacuated

Tourists are seen in the heat after being evacuated


"We had set up firebreaks around the village of Laerma last night, but a 180-degree change of the winds this morning helped the fire grow much bigger across many kilometres...reaching a tourist area," Konstantinos Taraslias, a deputy mayor of Rhodes, told Open TV.

Those evacuated are being housed at an indoor stadium and at hotels on the island, Taraslias said.

According tot he coastguard, three passenger ferries were also committed to host tourists during the night.

The fire has scorched swathes of forest since breaking out in a mountainous area on Tuesday.

It damaged three hotels in the seaside village of Kiotari on Saturday, according to the Athens News Agency.

Wildfires are spreading across the Greek island


The foreign office has updated its travel advice because of the conditions


Civil protection authorities have warned of a very high risk of wildfires on Rhodes and many other areas in Greece on Sunday, as temperatures were expected to hit 45 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) amid a heatwave.

Senior government officials will travel to Rhodes to assist the situation.

Fires are common in Greece but hotter, drier and windy summers have turned the country into a wildfire hotspot in recent years.

Meteorologists have warned that the current sweltering temperatures are expected to last until the end of the month.

The Foreign Office has updated its foreign travel advice on the heatwaves and wildfires in Europe.

It says: “If you are a British national affected by wildfires in Rhodes, please follow the guidance from the emergency services. Call the Greek emergency services on 112 if you are in immediate danger.

“The Greek government has established a crisis management Unit to facilitate the evacuation of foreign citizens from Rhodes. They can be contacted on +30 210 368 1730. For 24/7 British consular assistance, call +4420 7008 5000.

“If you are planning to travel to Rhodes, please check with your travel operator or hotel prior to travel that the area you plan to visit is not impacted by the current wildfires.”

You may like