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UPDATE: Escalating Fire Catastrophe in Rhodes: Fire Tornado and Extreme Behavior

 

The island of Rhodes is facing a devastating fire crisis, with flames reaching critical levels for six consecutive days. The situation escalated dramatically as a fire tornado formed, showcasing the extreme behavior of the blaze.

Thousands of residents and tourists have been evacuated from affected areas, and firefighters are working tirelessly to contain the inferno. Meteorological authorities have provided critical insights into the factors behind this explosive fire outbreak and predicted challenging conditions in the coming hours.

Tourists are being bused to the airport for those wishing to leave the island, which is still burning for a sixth day ΑΡΓΥΡΗΣ ΜΑΝΤΙΚΟΣ / EUROKINISSI
Tourists are being bused to the airport for those wishing to leave the island, which is still burning for a sixth day ΑΡΓΥΡΗΣ ΜΑΝΤΙΚΟΣ / EUROKINISSI

Hospitality for tourists in closed stadiums as well as in two Gymnasium-Lyceia in the center of the city of Rhodes.  ΑΡΓΥΡΗΣ ΜΑΝΤΙΚΟΣ / EUROKINISSI
Hospitality for tourists in closed stadiums as well as in two Gymnasium-Lyceia in the center of the city of Rhodes. ΑΡΓΥΡΗΣ ΜΑΝΤΙΚΟΣ / EUROKINISSI

The Fire's Intensity and Evacuations in Rhodes

The fire in Rhodes exhibited unprecedented behavior, leading to the evacuation of four villages and two hotels. The scale of the disaster necessitated urgent measures to ensure the safety of residents and visitors alike. More than 2,000 people were heroically rescued by sea, using both port and private boats.


Meteo's Analysis: Fire Tornado Formation

Meteo, the National Observatory of Athens, has released a chilling video capturing the formation of a fire tornado atop a burning hill in Rhodes. The swirling vortex lifted flames into the air, creating a hazardous situation for firefighting efforts. Additionally, satellite images captured thick smoke being transported by strong north-northwest winds, indicative of the intense burning fueled by the hot and dry conditions on the island.


Fire meteorogram for the western front of the fire in Rhodes. Higher index values correspond to more unfavorable pyrometeorological conditions (Add +3 for local time).
Fire meteorogram for the western front of the fire in Rhodes. Higher index values correspond to more unfavorable pyrometeorological conditions (Add +3 for local time).


Reasons for the Fire's Explosive Behavior

Meteo's experts have provided detailed maps highlighting the reasons behind the fire's explosion in Rhodes. Key elements contributing to the severity of the blaze include estimated flammability, speed of spread, thermal intensity, and difficulty of control. These elements have reached the highest levels of danger, posing significant challenges for firefighters and authorities.



Firefighting Challenges and Forecasts

The relentless flames have posed formidable challenges to firefighting forces, particularly in the coastal region of Kiotari. Despite the powerful ground and air efforts, the fire intensified, making it difficult to control. However, there is a glimmer of hope as the fire's intensity seems to have de-escalated in some areas.


Meteorological forecasts indicate a temporary and partial improvement in fire-meteorological conditions due to weakened winds. Nevertheless, the flammability of dead forest fuels remains alarmingly high, making firefighting efforts arduous. The upcoming hot hours of Sunday are expected to present the most challenging conditions, with increased wind intensity and extremely high flammability.


The fire crisis in Rhodes has entered its sixth day, with devastating consequences for communities and natural landscapes. The formation of a fire tornado has underscored the extreme behavior of this blaze. Evacuations and firefighting efforts are ongoing, with meteorological experts providing vital information to understand and combat the disaster. The coming hours will be critical, and the bravery and resilience of all involved will be put to the test as they strive to protect the island and its people.

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