Skiathos fire razes big tract of forest

Skiathos fire razes big tract offorest

14 July 2007

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Greece — A large fire on Skiathos, which has ravaged some 2,000 hectares offorestland and burnt homes on the island since it broke out on Thursday morning,was partly under control last night. Firemen remained on standby as high windsfueled fears that the blaze would rekindle.

Municipal authorities on the island, which yesterday remained on high alert,said the blaze was the work of arsonists. Residents said it had started at anillegal landfill.

Several other fires broke out in other parts of the country. Two blazes onMount Athos were contained before they could threaten the monastic communitylocated on the mountain’s slopes. The two fires, and another blaze inHalkidiki, are believed to have been caused by lightning. Another fire on theisland of Lesvos was curbed before it caused widespread damage.

A huge blaze in the region of Agia near Larissa at the end of last month, inwhich two men were killed, wreaked damaged totaling some 5.5 million euros,according to preliminary estimates by local officials. The ministry has pledged300,000 euros to local authorities so far.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday expressed the government’sgratitude to the country’s firefighters – “risking their lives inextremely adverse conditions as we unfortunately saw in Crete” – during aspeech before New Democracy’s central committee. Opposition PASOK criticizedthe government over what it branded the “paralysis” of the fire service.


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