Fire department officials in Greece apprehended two individuals on Saturday on suspicion of deliberately igniting wildfires. Meanwhile, firefighters grapple with blazes responsible for 21 deaths.
One arrest occurred on the island of Evia, where a man was taken into custody for allegedly intentionally setting fire to dried grass in the Karystos area. According to the fire department, the suspect confessed to igniting four additional fires in the same region during July and August.
In a separate incident, a second individual was apprehended in the Larissa area of central Greece. Suspected of deliberately starting a fire in dried vegetation. Judicial authorities have been alerted in both cases.
Arson Blamed for Several Fires
Authorities have attributed several recent fires in Greece to arson, although the cause of the country’s largest blazes. Including those in the northeastern Evros and Alexandroupolis regions, remains unclear. These fires have been responsible for most of the reported deaths. Another significant blaze occurred on the outskirts of Athens.
Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias condemned the deliberate acts of arson. Emphasizing the severe consequences they entail. He stated, “Some… arsonists are setting fires, endangering forests, property, and above all human lives. What is happening is not just unacceptable but despicable and criminal.”
Kikilias revealed that nine fires were set within a span of four hours in the Avlona area near Mount Parnitha. A mountain located on the northwestern outskirts of Athens, where a major fire was already underway.
The minister issued a stern warning to those responsible, stating, “You are committing a crime against the country. We will find you. You will be held accountable to justice.”
On the same day, a 45-year-old individual was arrested on suspicion of arson for allegedly starting at least three fires in the Avlona area. A search of the suspect’s residence led to the discovery of kindling, a fire torch gun, and pine needles.
Greece has been grappling with a surge in wildfires over the past week, exacerbated by strong winds and dry summer conditions. On Friday alone, firefighters were battling 111 blazes, including 59 that had erupted within the preceding 24 hours, according to the fire department.
While most fires are contained in their early stages, some have grown into massive infernos. Moreover, devouring homes and vast expanses of forest. The situation remains a significant challenge for firefighting efforts and has prompted a nationwide crackdown on arsonists.