Greek PM cancels holiday as major island fire prompts evacuations

ATHENS (AFP) – Hundreds of villagers were evacuated yesterday and the Greek Prime Minister cancelled a vacation as firefighters battled a major wildfire on the country’s second-largest island of Evia, authorities said.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis cut short a vacation on his home island of Crete, state TV ERT said, amid a race against time to evacuate hundreds of villagers from Kontodespoti, Makrymalli and Stavros with the flames nearing homes, officials said.

“There are flames all around and it’s difficult to breathe… house yards are on fire,” Dirfys-Messapia mayor Yiorgos Psathas told state TV ERT.

“We will order more evacuations if the need arises,” he added.

The fire on Greece’s second-largest island after Crete started at about 3am and was quickly spread by strong winds, news agency ANA said.