Greece: anger after a fire on the island of Hydra started by fireworks (firefighters): News

A forest fire on the Greek tourist island of Hydra, near Athens, was sparked by fireworks from a yacht on Friday evening, firefighters said on Saturday.

“The fire, caused by fireworks from a boat, burns the only pine forest on the island, in a place that is difficult to access and has no road,” denounced the seasonal firefighters of the island on Facebook, supporting photo, sparking anger on social networks.

The fire was quickly brought under control and no longer threatens the Hydra forest.

The island’s mayor, Giorgos Koukoudakis, said he was “outraged that some people are throwing fireworks in such an irresponsible way in a pine forest” on public television channel ERT.

He added that “the municipality would file a civil suit against those responsible for the fire as soon as the preliminary investigation was completed.”

Thirteen people accused of starting this fire were arrested on Saturday after the investigation carried out by the firefighters and must be presented to the prosecutor on Sunday, according to a press release from the firefighters.

Greece recently toughened penalties for arson. The perpetrators of the fires can now be sentenced to up to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to 200,000 euros.

On the Skai television channel, Mr. Koukoudakis also called on the authorities to act, highlighting the fact that “the island does not have fire zones or forest roads” allowing firefighters to access certain areas. areas.

On Saturday, civil protection called for the greatest vigilance while the risk of fire “remains very high” particularly in the region of Attica, which surrounds the Greek capital, in the Peloponnese (south) and in the center of country.

A raging fire on the Cycladic island of Andros has led to the evacuation of four villages and the mobilization of two water bombers and six helicopters. Reinforcements from Athens were expected in the evening

A 55-year-old man from the village of Myrtia in the Peloponnese died in a forest fire on Friday.

In the country, 45 new fires fueled by strong winds were recorded, according to firefighters.

Since Wednesday, authorities have continued to warn of the “very high risk” of forest fire due to strong winds and high temperatures which in some regions reached 40 degrees Celsius.

No stranger to heat waves, Greece has been preparing for weeks for a particularly difficult summer in terms of heatwaves and forest fires after having suffered the hottest winter in its history.

The Mediterranean country went through its first heatwave last week with temperatures locally reaching more than 44°C. It had already experienced devastating fires that caused more than twenty deaths and a two-week heatwave of more than 40°C, unprecedented in its duration, in 2023.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), rising temperatures caused by human-caused fossil fuel emissions are lengthening the fire season and increasing the area burned.

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