Residents and tourists were evacuated as fires raged at a popular beach resort in Greece Saturday, according to reports.
A wildfire which started in the mountainous forests of the Aegean island of Lesbos is threatening the resort town of Vatera, a 5-mile strip of sandy beaches.
Nine people were rescued by a coast guard boat when they were trapped on the beach after the fire erupted Saturday morning.
Fire-fighters, volunteers, local residents and business owners all pitched in to battle the flames, which in some places reached right down to the sea. Strong winds contributed to the fire’s rapid spread, according to Greek news reports.
Photos showed volunteers wading through clouds of billowing, thick smoke, and filling pails of water to douse the flames.
The Greek armed forces were dispatched to help extinguish the blaze, which has already destroyed two homes, a farmhouse, several businesses and vehicles in the area, according to reports. The full extent of the damage is not known.
“We are battling to save homes,” Taxiarchis Verros, mayor of western Lesbos, told state TV ERT Saturday.
The fire is one of dozens raging across Europe as the continent swelters amid a prolonged drought and a heat wave that has seen record temperatures in several countries. France, Italy, Spain and Portugal are each battling multiple blazes.