Greek Wildfires Destroy 150 Homes and Surround Monastery, Monks Refuse to Evacuate

A blazing fire engulfed a monastery, and a dozen towns on the Greek island of Evia has burned at least 150 homes, one of more than 100 fires raging across the country due to the heatwave.

“We’re waging a battle of the titans!” Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said. “The hardest is still to come,” he added.

Meanwhile, firefighters in Evia said that huge flames were shot out from the forest, visible from the sea, in a challenging blaze to contain on an island of rolling hills with limited visibility.

Firemen further reported that three monks from Saint David Monastery refused to leave and that everyone else had been evacuated from neighboring communities.

“We’re suffocating due to the smoke,” one of the monks said, adding flames some 30 to 40 meters (100 to 130 feet) high were surrounding the monastery.

Police told AFP news agency they would force the monks to evacuate if their lives were in danger.

Around 85 people assembled on a beach, and five boats were dispatched to evacuate them.

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