Brace for another 48 hours of hell, Greek PM warns

Brace for another 48 hours of hell, Greek PM tells people trapped in wildfires: Temperatures are set to soar even further today as wall of fire bears down on new resorts

  • Locals and holidaymakers bracing for the hottest day in heatwave on Wednesday
  • But forecasters predict that the temperature could drop in Greece from Friday

Greece’s prime minister has warned those trapped in wildfires that they are set for at least another 48 hours of hell as holidaymakers brace for the hottest day of the country’s two-week heatwave today.

Much of southern Europe is enduring one of the longest, driest and hottest summers on record which scientists say has been caused by man-made climate change. 

Rhodes has been relentlessly scorched for eight days and Greek authorities were continuing to evacuate new areas of on Tuesday afternoon as a wall of fire closed in on new resorts, with thousands of Brits still abroad.

Greece PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday that the country faced ‘another three difficult days ahead’, suggesting conditions could become more favourable from Friday.

Two pilots were tragically killed on Tuesday after their firefighting plane clipped a tree and exploded in a canyon, plunging the country’s armed forces into three days of mourning.  

Mr Mitsotakis cancelled a planned visit to Cyprus for Wednesday after the deaths of Captain Christos Moulas, 34, and his co-pilot, Second Lieutenant Periklis Stefanidis, 27. 

Terrifying flames rage towards Gennadi as Greece braces itself for soaring temperatures today

Greece’s prime minister has warned that Rhodes is set for at least two more days of hell before temperatures drop. Pictured: Gennadi, where people have been told to evacuate, burns

Exhausted locals try to extinguish a wildfire burning in Gennadi village. They have been helping firefighters to try and put the blazes out

Emergency services trying to put out the wildfires on the island of Rhodes amid soaring temperatures

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (pictured) said on Monday that the country faced ‘another three difficult days ahead’, suggesting that conditions could become more favourable from Friday

A firefighting plane makes a water drop as a wildfire burns in the village of Gennadi, on the island of Rhodes

Smoke rises as teams try to extinguish wildfires on Rhodes island, Greece on July 25, 2023

‘They offered their lives to save lives,’ Mr Mitsotakis said of the pilots. ‘They proved how hazardous their daily missions in extinguishing fires are … In their memory, we continue the war against the destructive forces of nature.’

Forecasters have predicted that although temperatures could reach 46C in parts of Greece on Wednesday, it could drop to 35C to 37C on Thursday, with strong winds and intermittent storms also likely.

Thousands of Britons have been rescued from fire-hit parts of the popular holiday island while others are having to cancel planned trips. About 10 per cent of land has burned on the island.

As many as 10,000 Britons are estimated to be in Rhodes, the Foreign Office said, with 30,000 more left in limbo as they are due to head there in the next few weeks, according to The Times.

The Foreign Office has not advised Britons to avoid non-essential travel to the entire island, while some travel companies are continuing to fly holidaymakers to Rhodes as they claim the blazes are not affecting the whole island. 

The Liberal Democrats were among those calling on the Foreign Office to advise against all but essential travel to Rhodes. The Dodecanese islands, which Rhodes is the largest of, are set to be 39 to 41C on Wednesday and 

Repatriation flights continued to land in the UK on Tuesday after rescuing holidaymakers who had been sleeping in schools, sports centres and airports.

Videos posted late on Tuesday night showed Gennadi being lit up by roaring orange flames as locals stepped out to witness yet more destruction on the resort-studded island.

Footage broadcast on Tuesday showed the plane battling wildfires on the Greek island of Evia  (pictured) before it disappeared behind a hilltop into a canyon

Second Lieutenant Periklis Stefanidis (left), 27, and Squadron Leader Christos Moulas, 34 both died in the crash

People take photos of a firefighting helicopter filling water from a pool, in the village of Gennadi

The Liberal Democrats were among those calling on the Foreign Office to advise against all but essential travel to Rhodes

A man reacts as a helicopter sprays water at a fire in Gennadi, on the southern part of the Greek island of Rhodes

A man rubs his eyes as a fire burns into the village of Gennadi which locals and tourists have been told to evacuate

Terrifying videos of the popular village burning down have been described as ‘apocalyptic’, while one user said: ‘If hell had a name it would be called Gennadi.’ 

Greek authorities yesterday issued warnings to those in Gennadi, Plimmiri, Lachania and Vati to evacuate. They were told to flee to Lindos – which was scorched earlier in the week – and Apolakkia.

For those in Corfu, evacuation warnings were sent to holidaymakers and locals in  Kalamaki, Apraos, Siki, Imerolia and Loutses.

Like much of southern Europe, large parts of Greece have been facing scorching temperatures this month, north of 40C (104F).

READ MORE: Horrifying moment firefighting plane clips a tree before crashing and exploding in a canyon killing both men on board in Greece: Crew named as father-to-be captain, 34, and his co-pilot, 27

The Hellenic National Meteorological Service predicts that temperatures on Wednesday could reach 46C in eastern Peloponnese. Conditions will change from midday in the northern Ionian Sea, and Epirus and western Macedonian regions, with temporary storms and mostly very strong north-westerly wind.

On Thursday, the temperature is expected to drop across the country by at least six to eight degrees and will not exceed 35C to 37C. Forecasters predict that three will be sporadic storms and very strong northerly winds again in Thrace, eastern Macedonia.

Holiday firm TUI updated their travel restrictions in a new update at 9pm on Wednesday. They listed 42 hotels in Kiotari, Gennadin, Plimiri, Lardos, Lindos, Pefkoi and Vlicha  that would not be operating until at least August 11, while no flights will go to Rhodes up to Friday.

For those travelling to the north from Saturday, hotels and resorts are fully operational, TUI added.

Britons in the upmarket resort of Kallithea, in the north, told MailOnline on Tuesday they were not worried about the blaze that has devastated hotels further south. And others in Faliraki condemned claims that Rhodes is unsafe to visit as ‘ridiculous’.

Tui said it had about 39,000 guests on the island, 7,800 or 20 per cent of whom were affected by the wildfires. 

Hundreds of people have already returned to the UK after parts of the island went up in flames, forcing many to sleep in schools, airports and sports centres.

But Olga Kefalogianni, Greece’s tourism minister, has insisted travellers should still fly to Rhodes because there ‘has been no disruption in the airport’ and only 10 to 20 per cent of the island has been affected by the fires. She added that affected hotel accommodation accounted for 15 per cent of the total capacity of the island.

And UK Housing Secretary Michael Gove insisted the fires had been ‘restricted to one part of the island’ and Rhodes was still safe for British tourists to visit. However, Labour has said the Government should ‘rethink’ the advice it is providing.

Ian Joyce with partner Laura Smith, Dani Joyce and Jessie Lock, in Faliraki, Rhodes. Mr Joyce told MailOnline: ‘Where we are staying, up here in the north of the island, it’s absolutely fine. We wouldn’t know there is anything going on if we had not heard it on the news’

Dean Guest with his wife Jenny and children Alexa, 16, and Lucas, 13, are on holiday in Rhodes from Birmingham and said they have hardly thought about the wildfires since they arrived

Louis Bodrozic and his partner Joanna arrived in Rhodes on Sunday as news of the devastating wildfires was gripping the UK. But the couple from London have not faced any problems 

British tourist Mark Lynch from Glasgow, pictured with his partner Sarah Lynch in Faliraki, Rhodes, told MailOnline: ‘It’s ridiculous to say it’s not safe to come on holiday to Rhodes, we’re having a brilliant holiday. We were on the beach this morning and it was lovely’

Alex Head and Callum Melhuist from Bristol found themselves caught up in the hotel evacuations in Rhodes on Saturday, but have put it behind them and are enjoying their holiday

Expat bar owner Sonja Dimitra, pictured with Caroline Buxton, told MailOnline in Faliraki today: ‘It is totally wrong to suggest that it’s not safe to come to Rhodes – that could ruin the island. Everyone here depends on tourism for their livelihoods’

Tourist James Shuttlewood said: ‘It’s absolutely fine here in Faliraki. We are nowhere near any of the forest fires. To be honest it’s more scary in the Scandinavian bar across the road!’

Kylie Fairgrieve, 51, and her husband Craig from Fife, said the blaze ‘is only affecting 10 per cent of the island and it is over 50 miles away’ from where she is staying with her husband 

In Kallithea, in the north of Rhodes, which has not been affected by the fires, UK tourists said today that they were carrying on with their holidays 

British tourists on the Greek island of Rhodes in Kallithea, which is not affected by the wildfires

More than 260 firefighters were battling flames on Rhodes for an eighth day in a row on Tuesday.

Hotels affected by Rhodes wildfires 


  • Absolute Kiotari Resort
  • Boutique 5 Hotel & Spa
  • Gonos Villa
  • Labranda Kiotari Miraluna
  • Lindian Village
  • Lindos Imperial Resort & Spa
  • Mayia Exclusive Resort & Spa
  • Mitsis Hotel Rodos Village
  • Mitsis Rodos Maris Resort and Spa
  • Princess Andriana Resort & Spa
  • Princess Sun Hotel
  • Rodos Princess Beach Hotel


  • Tui Blue Sensatori
  • Ambelia Hotel
  • Gennadi Grand
  • Plimiri
  • Magic Life
  • Atrium Prestige


  • Amaryllis Hotel Lardos
  • Lindos Princess
  • Cosmos Maris


  • AquaGrand of Lindos
  • Eleni Studios
  • Rafael Studios
  • Lindos View
  • Mitsis Lindos Memories Hotel


  • Amfitriti Hotel and Studios
  • Evi Studios
  • Finas Hotel and Apartments
  • Hotel Ziakis
  • Island Blue Hotel
  • Lindia Thalassa Resort
  • Pefki Islands
  • Pefkos Village Resort
  • Stella
  • White Olive Premium Lindos


  • Lindos Blu
  • Lindos Grand Resort & Spa
  • Lindos Mare
  • Lindos Royal
  • Lindos Village Resort & Spa
  • Lindos White Hotel & Suites
  • Tui Blue Lindos Bay

This list was released by Tui last night 

The Rhodes hotels affected include the Rodos Princess Beach Hotel, Mitsis Lindos Memories Hotel, Lindos Royal, Absolute Kiotari Resort and Princess Andriana Resort.

But most other hotels away from the south-east of the island remain open – with airlines continuing to fly in foreign tourists for their summer holidays.

In Kallithea, in the north of Rhodes, which has not been affected by the fires, UK tourists said today they were carrying on with their holidays.

Among them was Kylie Fairgrieve, 51, from Fife, who said: ‘Obviously we are aware of the fire. But the blaze is only affecting 10 per cent of the island and it is over 50 miles away.

‘We love coming to Rhodes, it’s a marvellous place. I know a lot of people have had their holidays disrupted but it’s important that tourists keep coming to Rhodes.

‘The whole island depends on tourism, it’s their main source of employment. For us, there is no difference now as to when we were here in May.’

Mrs Fairgrieve arrived on Friday from Edinburgh with husband Craig, 51. 

He told MailOnline: ‘We could see the fires from the plane as we came in to land.

‘But you can see there are miles away. We’re having a wonderful holiday. There’s nothing to worry about.’

The Guest family from Birmingham, said they have hardly thought about the wildfires since they arrived on Friday.

Father Dean Guest, 48, told MailOnline: ‘Our travel company, Trade Winds, told us that there was problem with fires on Rhodes but reassured us that it was a long way from our hotel.

‘And I haven’t really thought about it since. I’ve been sitting by the pool, reading my book and relaxing. We’re not worried.’

Mother Jenny Guest, 44, added: ‘I was a bit concerned before we got here, but it’s been fine. We’re having a great time and the kids love it.’

Louis Bodrozic and his partner Joanna arrived on Sunday afternoon as news of the devastating wildfires was gripping the UK. But the couple from London have not faced any problems.

Mr Bodrozic, 25, told MailOnline: ‘It’s a sad situation for those people who have been affected. But everything has gone very smoothly for us.’

Alex Head and Callum Melhuist from Bristol found themselves caught up in the hotel evacuations on Saturday, but have put it behind them.

Ms Head, 31, explained: ‘We took a boat trip down to Lindos, which is right in the fire zone. When we docked the police made us get off the boat so they could use it to evacuate people from their hotels.

Tourists watch on in horror as the Rhodes wildfires take hold and evacuations are carried out

A fire-fighting aircraft drops water over a wildfire near Vati in southern Rhodes this morning 

People stand on a pick-up truck as they watch wildfires close to Vati in Rhodes this morning

‘It was a bit of a drama. But we just walked up the hill and got the local bus back to our hotel in Kallithea.

How travel firms are helping British tourists

Flights rescuing British holidaymakers in Rhodes have begun arriving in the UK, as wildfires ravage parts of the Greek island. Some people have complained about a lack of information from travel companies on how the incident will affect them. How have different firms responded to the emergency?

– Jet2

Jet2 announced it would operate four repatriation flights from Rhodes to bring holidaymakers back to the UK. They took hundreds of people to Manchester, Leeds Bradford and Birmingham yesterday evening. It comes after a flight carrying 95 passengers landed at Leeds Bradford on Sunday evening.

The company has ‘significantly increased’ staff numbers on the island and was running transfer coaches to take customers to the airport from evacuation centres yesterday. It has cancelled all flights and holidays due to fly to Rhodes up to and including Sunday and has contacted customers about refund and rebooking options, claiming the company will process a refund ‘quickly’ if a customer requests one.

– Tui

A fourth repatriation flight is under way, with another scheduled for this morning, after the arrival of three flights in the UK overnight. Tui said it had cancelled all flights to Rhodes up to and including Friday as well as all flights for customers travelling to impacted hotels up to and including Sunday, with passengers receiving full refunds. Those due to travel to unaffected areas on Saturday and Sunday can change to another holiday free of charge or cancel for a full refund. The company said it is still operating empty outbound flights to bring customers on holiday elsewhere in Rhodes home ‘as planned’. The firm previously said more than 300 members of staff were on the affected part of the island, and urged customers to keep in touch.

– easyJet

easyJet announced it would operate repatriation flights to bring home British holidaymakers trapped on Rhodes. Two rescue flights, an A320 and an A321 aircraft totalling 421 additional seats, flew from Gatwick yesterday, and a third flight will operate today. Nine flights already operating between Rhodes and the UK will also continue alongside them. Flights are still operating for customers booked to travel to or from Rhodes before July 29, but if they would like to change their plans, customers can change the date of their flight or request a flight voucher.

– Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook is contacting customers due to travel to hotels in Lardos and Kiotari – the areas most at risk – up to and including Monday, July 31 with offers of full refunds or the choice to amend their holidays. The same options will be given to customers travelling to other parts of Rhodes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The company will contact all customers travelling to Rhodes in coming weeks in order of departure date. Those due to depart on Thursday will hear from Thomas Cook by no later than 6am the day before to ‘discuss your options’.

– British Airways

British Airways said it was still operating flights to Rhodes as normal. However, customers currently on the island needing to come home early can change their return flight free of charge, and anyone travelling out from the UK in the next week can postpone their flight to a later date. The firm has put a larger aircraft on the next flight from the island to accommodate customers who need to return earlier than planned.

‘I feel sorry for the people who have been affected by the fires. But we’ve still had a nice holiday.’

One family were forced to divert to a different hotel upon arrival as their resort was cut off by the flames.

Mother Caroline Pickering from St Albans told MailOnline: ‘We were booked into a hotel in Lindos. But when we arrived on Sunday we learnt that it was cut off by the fire.

‘So our tour operator Trailfinders changed our booking to this hotel here in Kallithea instead. And it’s been fine. My son Rory has been snorkelling and me and my husband Steven have been relaxing on the beach. It’s been fine.’

In Faliraki, holidaymakers and British expats condemned claims that Rhodes is unsafe to visit as ‘ridiculous’.

Mark Lynch from Glasgow said: ‘It’s ridiculous to say it’s not safe to come on holiday to Rhodes, we’re having a brilliant holiday. We were on the beach this morning and it was lovely.

‘There’s no panic here because there’s nothing to worry about. I can’t believe that people are saying you shouldn’t travel to Rhodes.’

Fellow British tourist Ian Joyce told MailOnline: ‘We came out here ten days ago, before the fires started. And so we have been discussing whether we would have come to Rhodes after hearing about the fires on the news.

‘We think we probably would not have come if the fires had already been raging because we wouldn’t want to put our children in harm’s way.

‘But where we are staying, up here in the north of the island, it’s absolutely fine. We wouldn’t know there is anything going on if we had not heard it on the news. There is no smoke, you can’t see the flames. There are occasional power cuts, but that can happen anywhere. We all feel perfectly safe.’

Expat Caroline Buxton, 62, added: ‘There really is no problem here in Faliraki. The fires are way down the road. It’s perfectly safe to come on holiday to Rhodes.

And expat bar owner Sonja Dimitra told MailOnline: ‘It is totally wrong to suggest that it’s not safe to come to Rhodes – that could ruin the island. Everyone here depends on tourism for their livelihoods.

‘When there has been a problem, it has been the local people who have help the tourists. The tour reps have been nowhere to be seen. You cannot repay this kindness by taking away their own way to support themselves.’

And James Shuttlewood, 25, from Leicester, added: ‘It’s absolutely fine here in Faliraki. We are nowhere near any of the forest fires. To be honest it’s more scary in the Scandinavian bar across the road!’

A statement from Tui on its website last night said: ‘We will not be operating all outbound flights to Rhodes up to and including Friday 28th July.

‘We will also not be operating holidays for customers travelling to the below resorts in the South of the island up to and including 11 August.

‘For those travelling to the North of Rhodes from Saturday 29 July, we want to reassure that hotels and resorts are fully operational and our team of TUI reps are offering their usual service.’ 

Thousands of Britons have been rescued from fire-ravaged parts of the island, with more now facing their summer holidays being cancelled.

Repatriation flights landed in the UK overnight and are set to continue, as holidaymakers spoke of their ‘traumatic’ experiences, being evacuated from hotels and sleeping in schools, airports and sports centres on the popular Greek island.

Ms Kefalogianni was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday whether people should fly to Corfu, where nearly 2,500 people were also evacuated yesterday.

And she said: ‘But this is also the case for Rhodes, if I may add, because there has been no disruption in the airport and I think it’s particularly important to stress that only a small part of the whole island of Rhodes is affected.

‘It’s approximately an area which is 10 to 20 per cent of the total area of the island. 

‘When it comes to hotel accommodation, so disruption in terms of tourism, it’s 15 per cent of the total capacity of the island.

‘So, yes, indeed, this was the largest evacuation that Greece has ever done, and it happened in a matter of a couple of hours. We’ve coordinated mobilisation of all resources, but everybody is safe.’

Holiday operators continue to cancel flights and holidays, meaning thousands could be at risk of having their getaway plans scuppered.

It emerged yesterday that an easyJet pilot heading to Rhodes had issued a stern warning to Brits on his plane. 

Some 37 passengers, including a young boy, attempted to fly out of Gatwick despite terrifying fires scorching the Greek island, sparking the country’s biggest evacuation in history.

But in the final moments before take-off, the pilot issued a stark warning, telling passengers on board the 180-seat capacity aircraft that travelling to the resort island was a ‘bad idea’.

The pilot reportedly told passengers over the Tannoy before take-off: ‘Travelling to Rhodes for a holiday at the moment is a terrible idea. As far as I’m concerned, this flight is being operated on an emergency basis. Return flights are now being managed by the military. If you want to get off flight, you are welcome to do so.

‘I don’t know in what capacity you are travelling, but if you are travelling for leisure, my sincere recommendation is it’s a bad idea.’

Journalist Gwyn Loader, who was on the flight to Rhodes to report for BBC Wales’ Welsh-language news programme Newyddion, said that eight passengers chose to listen to the advice and disembark, including the young boy who was in tears.

German tourists take water from a swimming pool of a hotel in Lindos, Rhodes, yesterday

Tourists queue to get on coaches at the Gennadi Beach area of Rhodes on Saturday

Tourists try to sleep on the floor at an evacuation centre in Rhodes yesterday amid the fires

Fire fighting crews working near close to the wildfire on the island of Rhodes yesterday

James Swanson with his wife Sarah, and two children, Caitlin, 15 and Harry, 11, on Rhodes

However, Mr Gove said he plans to holiday on the Greek island of Evia, insisting the region is safe for Britons to visit.

The Housing Secretary told Times Radio: ‘I’m due to go on holiday, God willing, to Greece in just over a week’s time – not to Rhodes but to another island – and I’m looking forward to going.

‘Greece is a wonderful country, a wonderful place to holiday, and we do need to support the Greek government in dealing with the situation in Rhodes.

‘My heart goes out to those who are affected but the advice is clear – if you follow the Foreign Office advice it is safe.’

But Labour has suggested the Government should ‘rethink’ the advice it is providing for people considering travelling to the Greek island of Rhodes.

READ MORE Tories urge Foreign Office to add Rhodes to travel ‘red list’ so tourists can get refunds

Speaking during a private notice question in the House of Lords, Tory former cabinet minister Lord Young of Cookham asked if the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is ‘really expecting families booked to go to Rhodes over the next few days to go ahead with their plans’.

Speaking for the Government, Lords deputy chief whip the Earl of Courtown said the travel advice was there to allow people to make an ‘informed decision’ and is ‘always under review’.

Labour leader in the Lords Baroness Smith of Basildon said the minister should ‘rethink this matter’. She said: ‘The Government’s advisory is not helpful – or lack of advisory – to those who are not sure if they should fly this week or not, or what the financial consequences could be.

‘With the cost-of-living crisis, many people make sacrifices for their… annual holiday for a week, and I do ask the noble Lord to reconsider the reply he gave to the noble Lord Young.

‘I’m not convinced he is entirely understanding the position of insurance companies and the struggle that many families face to pay for these holidays.’

In addition, Rishi Sunak has been urged by the Liberal Democrats to call an emergency meeting in response to the wildfires .

The party’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Layla Moran said: ‘While thousands of British holidaymakers are impacted by the wildfires on Rhodes, Rishi Sunak has shown a failure of leadership.

‘The Prime Minister needs to take action and urgently convene an emergency Cobra meeting to help holidaymakers.

‘The Government must also immediately change the Foreign Office advice to essential travel only, which will enable the thousands of British tourists due to fly to Rhodes to safely cancel their holidays without being left out of pocket.

‘Holidaymakers are being let down by this Conservative Government and a Prime Minister who is missing in action when they need him.’

A newlywed couple spending their honeymoon on Rhodes said they were taken out of their hotel amid ‘intense’ smoke and the sound of a child screaming ‘I don’t want to die’.

Claire and Paul Jones, both 36, from Leicestershire, were moved on Saturday by coach from the Village Rhodes Beach Resort near Lardos.

Mrs Jones told the PA news agency: ‘It was really quite traumatic driving to where we went because you could see everyone fleeing their hotels, and people were walking along the beaches, walking along the roads, and they had babies and small children.’

Mark Payton, from Bristol, criticised tour operator Tui and said his family had managed to get back to the UK only after taking a ferry from Rhodes to Kos and then finding a flight to their home city.

Rhodes tourists Leigh and Charlotte Buckwell, with their children Izabella, four, and Henry, two

Wildfires burn in Kiotari, on the island’s south-eastern coast, devastating the area

People sit inside a car as they watch the fires near the village of Malona on Rhodes today

Martin Bowery with his wife Victoria and son Hayden, arriving at Gatwick Airport yesterday

Women embrace each other at Gatwick Airport yesterday amid the Rhodes evacuation

He told PA: ‘It is just devastation over there. You plan for these holidays, and it just feels like a real rubbish long weekend away.’

Another man who landed at Bristol Airport with his young family said: ‘Miserable. Worst week ever.’

A couple from Norwich were forced to flee a wedding party on Rhodes on Saturday.

Dominic Doggett, 30, and his fiancee, Hannah Dolman, 28, arrived at Gatwick Airport on Monday having stayed on the floor of an office in a hotel after the wedding do came to an ‘abrupt end’.

A family from Dorset were forced to sleep at a primary school on the island after ash began falling on the outdoor furniture at the villa where they were staying.

Martin Bowrey, 55, Victoria Bowrey, 51, and Hayden Bowrey, 19, left the villa in Lindos after getting an alert on their phones, and slept on ‘slabs’ in the school courtyard.

Airline easyJet said it was operating its third flight today, while a spate of Jet2 flights took place yesterday evening.

An easyJet spokeswoman said: ‘Customers are advised to follow official FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) advice. For Rhodes this has not changed and our schedule continues to operate. 

‘As we understand that some customers travelling to the affected area may want to change their plans we have put in place a flexible policy for customers travelling to Rhodes in the coming days with the option to change their flights for free to another date or request a flight voucher for the value of their unused flights if they no longer wish to travel.’ 

Travel firms have increased numbers of staff based on the island.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said yesterday evening that he had spoken with airline companies and welcomed the additional flights.

However, people have not been discouraged from going to Rhodes, a decision Downing Street defended.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘Our advice is focused on the safety of British nationals and enabling people to make an informed decision about the situation on the ground.

‘The current situation is impacting on a limited area in Rhodes and while it’s right to keep it under review and it’s possible that the advice may change, we do not want to act out of proportion to the situation on the ground.’

A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed a team has arrived on Rhodes to support travel operators in bringing Britons home.

Vassilis Kikilias, Greece’s civil protection minister, said crews had battled over 500 fires around the country for 12 straight days.

The fires are particularly devastating on very touristic islands such as Rhodes and Corfu where the season is in full swing and hotels are often full.

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