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    "Get Out ASAP": This Woman's Frantic Wildfire Escape Has People Begging That We All Take Climate Change More Seriously

    "Think how quickly any of us can turn [into] a climate refugee. Think about how many people already are climate refugees."

    Recently, wildfires broke out in Rhodes, Greece, spreading toward the southern and eastern coasts, and burning for days. Along the coast, many beachside resorts housed tourists — about 20,000 of which had to be evacuated alongside local residents and business owners.

    A wildfire in Greece

    One vacationer who was evacuated, 30-year-old content creator Fiona Michelle, illustrated what life was like on the ground amongst the panic in what she calls a "weekend trip that turned into survival mode in 24 hours."

    @fionamichelle__ / Via

    In the video, Fiona starts by enjoying amenities at the resort she chose for time away. The city of Rhodes, she says, is "the most perfect location in Greece." However, at the time, she had no idea wildfires had broken out three days earlier, on July 18, and they'd yet to be fully contained.

    Within 24 hours of her arrival, the beach went from this...

    A Greek island beach this.

    "Fire started due to heat wave"

    At the first sign of smoke, Fiona told BuzzFeed she "asked hotel staff, and they said they hadn’t heard anything except that there was a fire two villas down, and they were getting evacuated, but we were fine."

    However, things quickly took a turn. "As the smoke got bigger, we started seeing helicopters, and staff running around," Fiona recalled. "Lights went out in the main restaurant, but people were still sat eating. As the smoke got lower and darker, people started leaving."

    "I saw people with suitcases and bags heading to the beach. I went back to my hotel and called reception, asking them what’s going on and what to do. They told me to get out the room ASAP and head down to the beach immediately for safety."

    Down at the beach, Fiona said they were "advised to head to one end of the beach away from the fire and smoke, [but] as we walked down to the other end, the fire started on that side, too, and we actually saw flames." Then, "firefighters came... telling people to go to the other end and [saying that] boats were coming to take us."

    "Had to evacuate hotel"

    She remembers a frantic air to the evacuation, as the wildfires dissolved any sense of organization and local residents with boats jumped in to help transport tourists and staff from resorts.

    "We asked them where we were going, [but] they weren’t sure themselves. Just said we must get on the boat," Fiona continued. "A lot of people were very unsure about getting on boats 'til they had no choice as everyone was leaving."

    "Fire spread to the area we were in"

    According to NPR, six people have been treated for respiratory issues, and another broke their leg during evacuation, but no casualties have been reported.

    "Boats came to take us off the island"

    Back on land, Fiona and crowds of others were bussed to any nearby hotel with space...

    "Coaches sent to get us to different hotels"

    ...and most slept in conference rooms, event spaces, or lobbies while awaiting their pre-scheduled flights home.

    "Overly crowded No hotels, No flights out"

    Ultimately, Fiona made it home safe, and her subsequent video went viral as it offered a first-person preview at the dangers of climate change. "Take this shit seriously," one Twitter user wrote in response to the clip. "Think how quickly any of us can turn [into] a climate refugee. Think about how many people already are climate refugees."

    Take this shit seriously. Think how quickly any of us can turn I to a climate refugee. Think about how many people already are climate refugees.

    — Cop City Will Never Be Built (@BrainsNGrenades) July 25, 2023\_\_/video/7259076525738233114 / Via Twitter: @BrainsNGrenades

    Throughout her stay and after Fiona returned home, a total of 64 wildfires blazed through the country. Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has since stated that wildfires are not uncommon for the area, but that they have been exacerbated by climate change, Reuters reported.

    I called @KMitsotakis to express our full support for Greece, which is confronted with devastating forest fires and a heavy heat wave due to climate change.

    Greece is handling this difficult situation with professionalism, putting emphasis on safely evacuating thousands of…

    — Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) July 23, 2023
    Twitter: @vonderleyen

    For Americans like Fiona who have experienced record-breaking heat two months in a row, this is certainly an eye-opener. "As much as we all know global warming is a real thing that is harming our planet and a lot needs to be done, it was only until that moment that I realized how serious global warming is, and how scary it can get."

    To learn everyday ways you can help combat climate change, the United Nations has compiled a list of 10 things you can do starting now.

    And if you'd like to keep up with Fiona, you can follow her on TikTok