Firebreaks halt blaze on Lesvos, homes saved, but new fire reignites

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Fire Service and civil crews dug firebreaks outside evacuated villages on the Greek island of Lesvos early Monday, halting a wildfire that had threatened scores of homes, authorities said.

The overnight work, utilising excavators and other heavy machinery, took place before six water-dropping planes returned to the southern coast of the eastern Aegean Sea island, where the fire was burning for the third day.

There was a severe rekindling of the flames at the site of a significant wildfire in the south of the island of Lesvos on Monday due to an increase in the intensity of winds blowing in the area.

According to the regional deputy governor for civil protection, Panagiotis Koufalos, "the rekindlings due to winds of up to 7 on the Beaufort scale are burning the area of Rogada, where the fire started on Saturday, and northwest of the village of Vrisa, without, however, threatening the settlement".

Fresh evacuation orders were issued on Monday for the residents of Visa and Stavros on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos as western winds threatened anew the two villages.

The residents were asked to evacuate toward the beach resort of Vatera which was ravaged by the fire on Saturday.

Mytilene Mayor Stratis Kytelis said that four water-dropping aircraft were operating on Monday, before issuing a call for reinforcements.

He said that the fire has burned an estimated 2,000 hectares of land since Saturday.