Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs has advised against travel to the areas affected by wildfires in Greece.
The Irish Embassy shared an extreme fire danger warning for tomorrow, Tuesday, July 25 as wildfires continue to impact the country.
ATTENTION: Extreme fire danger 5️⃣ for tomorrow Tuesday 25 July in 🔴Rethymno, Herakleion & Lasithi in Crete
High Risk in 🟠Attica 🟠Central Greece 🟠Magnesia 🟠Larissa 🟠Karpathos 🟠Kos 🟠Chania https://t.co/V8yi9cyDMP— Irish Embassy Athens (@IrlEmbAthens) July 24, 2023
The extreme fire warning comes a day after the Irish Embassy in Athens advised Irish citizens in Rhodes to call the Greek Emergency Services on 112 if they are in immediate danger.
Anyone in need of consular assistance can call the Embassy of Ireland in Greece on +30 2107232771 or the Honorary Consulate of Ireland in Rhodes on +30 2241075655. If in Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs HQ can be contacted on 01 4082527.— Irish Foreign Ministry (@dfatirl) July 23, 2023
In a travel update for Greece, Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs says: "Large-scales fires are affecting many areas of Greece currently, including in particular on the island of Rhodes.
"The wildfires have caused road closures and extensive damage to property in the centre of the island, particularly in the areas of Kiotari, Lardos, Pefko, Lindos, Massari, Malonas Apollona, Laermon and Lardos.
"Be aware that the air quality in areas near active fires may also deteriorate due to heavy smoke.
"Irish citizens should stay away from the affected areas and move rapidly out of any areas affected.
"This is an evolving situation; comply with evacuation orders and follow instructions from the emergency service, police and local authorities.
"Stay fully informed of what is going on by monitoring local news and social media.
"Call the Greek Emergency Services on 112 if you are in immediate danger. Turn mobile phones on to roaming, to receive any alerts from local authorities.
"Temporary shelters have been established for tourists who have had to evacuate their hotels. Please contact your tour operator or agency for information on arrangements and flights.
"Anyone in need of consular assistance can call the Embassy of Ireland in Greece on +30 2107232771 or the Honorary Consulate of Ireland in Rhodes on +30 2241075655. If in Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs HQ can be contacted on 01 4082527.
"If you are planning to travel to Rhodes, you should check with your travel operator or agency, or your hotel, prior to travel to see if the area you plan to visit is impacted by the current wildfires and evacuations. We advise against travel to affected areas.
Meanwhile, Ireland's Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin told reporters on Monday: “Take all advice from the authorities. Evacuate when you’re asked to evacuate and don’t hesitate."
He added: “We have received queries from a number of Irish nationals on the island and we’re increasing our capacity to the region in terms of helping Irish citizens who are in challenging circumstances or in difficulties and liaising with the authorities to facilitate Irish citizens - in some instances, it could be emergency passports where they might have left them in the hotel and making sure that the logistics and the travel arrangements could be facilitated."
Martin also said he believed refunds for travelers would be "the proper approach."
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has said that it would be "proper" for travel firms to refund holidaymakers who want to cancel trips to parts of Greece hit by unprecedented wildfires | Read more: https://t.co/XLk3H9oa8j pic.twitter.com/tALMWyxkiB— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 24, 2023
Greece's Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Vassilis Kikilia said in a statement on Monday: "For the 12th day, under extreme conditions of heat and strong winds, we are fighting non-stop on dozens of forest fire fronts.
"During these days, the women and men of the Fire Department fought over 500 fires (that is, more than 50 a day)."
Kikilia likened the fire-fighting operations to "battles," which included the "huge operation to safely remove at least 20,000 people in the southern part of Rhodes."
Greek Fire Marshal Vasilios Vathrakogiannis further said on Monday that "conditions remain difficult. The attention of all of us is necessary."
After noting that officers from the Megalopolis Fire Department arrested a man who set fire to crop residues, Vathrakogiannis said: "All Civil Protection forces remain on alert. We call on all citizens to refrain from actions that may cause a fire."