Local authorities evacuated 500 residents from the villages of Kontodespoti and Makrimalli and the monastery of Panagia Makrymallis on the Greek island of Euboea on Tuesday as fire-fighters tackled raging wildfires.
Greece’s civil protection authority has declared a state of emergency in the affected area and requested the European civil protection organisation for assistance, firefighting planes were sent from Croatia and Italy, according to the Greek protection authority and more than 120 firefighters tackled the blaze from the ground and the air.
Greece’s capital Athens is just 110 kilometers away and has been blanketed in thick smoke from the fires with some Athenians reporting ash falling from the sky.
According to reports, wildfires have broken out in at least four other regions with fire officials saying they have extinguished up to 182 fires in the last three days.
So far no fatalities have been reported, and the strong winds fueling the blaze are expected to subside in the evening.
Euboea, also known as Evia, is Greece’s second largest island and popular with tourists during the summer.