Greek villagers living near the site of the ancient Olympic Games in the western Peloponnese who chose not to evacuate their homes helped emergency crews battle large blazes on Thursday (August 5) night.
“We told the women and elderly and kids to go, and whoever was able stayed to help, however they could,” said Giannis Kanellopoulos, from the small village of Lasdikas, as red flames and sparks glowed in the night sky behind him.
Greek authorities on Wednesday (August 4) ordered villages near ancient Olympia to be evacuated after wildfires raged across the country, destroying swathes of forest and buildings, and sending hundreds fleeing.
After a long battle firefighters appeared to have saved the site in ancient Olympia, with the ancient treasures out of danger, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni told ANT1 television. But the fires continued to rage in nearby villages the western Peloponnese on Thursday night.
The site, where the Olympic flame begins its journey to the city hosting the modern Olympics, is one of Greece’s most popular tourist attractions. It had also been threatened by fire in 2007.