Greek Coast Guard ships on Saturday moved to evacuate hundreds of tourists and locals from the island of Rhodes after five days of wildfires spread to coastal villages.

A Navy warship was on its way to join the five Greek coast guard ships and two military vessels, which were assisted by 30 private vessels in the area, according to a Coast Guard statement.

A A Coast Guard spokesman, Nikos Alexiou, said about 2,000 people had been evacuated from southeastern Rhodes. “Most have been rescued, but the operation continues,” he told Greek television, adding that Coast Guards were patrolling the area, along with a helicopter.

Rhodes is one of Greece’s most popular summer resorts, especially for Brits, who favor it for its long, sandy beaches and lively nightlife.

Television footage showed tourists dragging suitcases along the road and residents helping to move them to coastal areas in pick-up trucks. Social media posters showed that many visitors fled their hotels without any belongings. Some were still in theirs bathing suits

The deputy mayor of Rhodes, Konstantinos Taraslias, told Greek television that some tourists were taken to the island’s airport and others to schools and stadiums. Some were temporarily accommodated in other hotels.

Paul Kalburgi, British playwright and screenwriter who was staying at the Lindos Imperial with his family, said in a message on Twitter that they had walked just over a mile along the coast to the Atlantica Hotel along with hundreds of others.

Earlier Mr. Kalburgi posted a desperate note about Twitter for he and his family, wet towels pressed to their faces, left the Lindos Imperial and sought to avoid the advancing flames.

Greek media said at least three hotels were damaged by the fire.

The blaze on Rhodes is one of hundreds that have broken out across Greece this week, fueled by tinder-dry conditions as a second heat wave grips the country, with temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in central Greece on Sunday.

Two large fires that burned for days west of Athens and in the southern Peloponnese peninsula, destroying dozens of homes and razing thousands of hectares of forest land, were largely contained on Saturday, Greece’s fire service spokesman Ioannis Artopios said.

But the fire on Rhodes taxed firefighters. “It is the most difficult fire we are facing,” Mr Artopios said, adding that the service had ordered the evacuation of four villages in the south-east of the island earlier on Saturday.

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