The coast guard organized a massive operation on the Greek island Evia to evacuate hundreds of people. They used patrol boats, fishing, and private vessels to rescue vacationers and residents from the encroaching flames. As flames raced through pine forest, dozens of villages and neighborhoods were also destroyed in the southern Peloponnese area and north of the Greek capital.
"We're discussing the apocalypse," Sotiris Danikas (head of the coast guard in Aidipsos on Evia), said, describing the sea evacuation.
Nikos Kokkalas, a coast guard spokesperson, told ERT that 653 people were evacuated from northeast Evia beaches after all other escape routes had been closed by fires.
Many parts of Greece have been ravaged by fires after a heatwave which saw temperatures soar to 45 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit). Many people have fled their homes and holiday accommodations, and at least 20 people including four firefighters have been treated for injuries. According to the Health Ministry, two firefighters were admitted to intensive care in Athens while two others were treated for light burns.
Eight people were killed in wildfires that swept across the Turkish coast over the past 10 days.
Major fires in Greece are currently being fought by more than 1,000 firefighters and 20 aircraft. Many European countries have sent or are already sending firefighters, planes and helicopters to assist.
Temperatures dropped below 40° Celsius (104° Fahrenheit) in many parts. However, strong winds were forecast for Friday afternoon across much of the country. This could hamper firefighting efforts.
Fire Service Brig. Gen. Aristotelis Papadopoulos said.
Authorities in Turkey evacuated six additional neighborhoods around the town of Milas, Mugla province. The wildfire that was sparked by wind gusts erupted about 5 km (3 miles) away from a power station. Officials said that at least 36,000 people were evacuated from Mugla province alone.
In an effort to prevent flames reaching the Yenikoy plant (the second such facility in the area that was threatened by wildfires), several excavators dug out areas of land to make firebreaks.
A fire broke out at the Kemerkoy power station's compound on Wednesday. Residents were forced to flee their homes in cars and navy boats. After a raging fire that lasted for over 11 hours, the fire was put out by officials on Thursday. Officials also confirmed that no major units of the plant were damaged.
Officials said that wildfires that were raging in the vicinity of Marmaris, also Mugla province's tourism resort, were mostly contained by Thursday night. However, at least two fires still burned in Antalya province which is another popular beach destination.
Firefighters went door-to-door in Greece to urge people to evacuate. Helicopters dropped water on the thick smoke and flames blanketing the area. Residents were urged to evacuate by authorities who sent push alerts via mobile phones.
The work of hundreds upon hundreds of firefighters was impeded by the constant flare-ups that threatened inhabited regions.
The fire caused traffic to be halted on Thursday's country's main highway linking Athens and northern Greece. It also damaged electricity installations. This led to the power distribution company warning of possible rolling power cuts.
Giorgos Hatzispiros, a resident in the Drosopigi, surveyed the damage to the house Friday morning. This was his first visit to the property since he had been ordered to evacuate on the previous afternoon. The single-story brick home was left unaffected, as were his children's bikes, which were found in a storage room. Smoke rose from the still-smoldering bookshelf.
Hatzispiros stated, "Nothing is left." To spare his mother the destruction of their home, he urged her to leave.
Nearly 60 villages and settlements in southern Greece were evacuated on Thursday and Friday. Evia was not the only victim of fires. Fires were also raging in several locations in southern Greece's Peloponnese. A firefighter stopped the flames from reaching the monuments at Olympia.
The former Greek royal family used a summer palace in Athens. It was also preserved.
COVID-19 vaccinations were also interrupted by the fires. The Health Ministry announced that vaccinations were being suspended at the centers affected by the fires. However, appointments can be rescheduled if conditions permit.
"Our first priority is the protection and preservation of human life. Then, we will move on to the protection and preservation of property, the environment, and critical infrastructure. In these circumstances, it is impossible to achieve all of these goals simultaneously," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitchells said Thursday night in a televised speech. He said that wildfires are a sign of "climate change".
More than 100 people were killed when a fast-moving fire in a forest engulfed a beachside community east of Athens. Some drowned after being trapped on a beach and caught in the choking smoke.