Vatera in Lesvos is being evacuated - Firefighters fight fire from the Ground, and Air

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Hundreds of tourists and residents were evacuated on Saturday from a popular resort on the Greek island of Lesbos as a wildfire destroyed homes in the beachside village of Vatera.

The fires sent up thick clouds of smoke blotting out the sun as they drifted over the sea while blazes raged metres away from homes, forcing people to flee while others tried to protect their houses from the embers.

The fire on Lesbos island broke out at 10:00 am local time (0700 GMT) on Saturday and is blazing on two fronts, heading towards Vrisa village and another inside Vatera.

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The fire at the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park, a protected area of national and European significance, began on Thursday afternoon, with over 300 firefighters and 68 vehicles currently involved in extinguishing the blaze. Multiple special firefighting planes and a helicopter have also been tapped for the operation.

A total of over 50 wildfires started in Greece in the past 24 hours, according to the country’s firefighting service. Some 200 lumberjacks are said to also be working in the area to help maintain the forests and provide clearings to block the flames from spreading.