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Tourists evacuated as devastating fire rips through Greek island of Alonissos


A large blaze has forced tourists to be evacuated on the small Greek island of Alonissos as British journalist Lee Thomas-Mason reports from the scene.

The island, located in the Aegean Sea as a third member of the Northern Sporades, is heavily covered with large pine forest that ignited in the area of Marpouda on Wednesday night.

As the situation began to worsen, around 70 tourists were evacuated from the area as a precaution.

Local firemen bravely tackled the blaze which started at around 1am (GMT+3). However, due the flammable nature of the clustered pine trees, they struggled to contain the fire which began to spread across the shoreline and began creeping inland.

As the blaze still continues into the day, more firemen have arrived from neighbouring islands armed with four vehicles, two Canadair aeroplanes and one Super Puma helicopter and are fighting the flames in the area of Gerakina Lakka, located in the south of the island.

Twelve more firemen and six vehicles are thought to be on the way to Alonissos.

Island mayor Petros Vafinis has suggested that the blaze is a result of arson when speaking to state-run broadcaster ERT but that is yet to be confirmed by authorities.