Greek fire chief resigns 3 months after deadly forest blazes

Greek fire chief resigns 3 months after deadly forest blazes

 4 December 2007

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Athens, Greece — Greece’s fire chief stepped down Tuesday, three months after the country’s worst wildfires killed more than 65 people and obliterated large tracts of forest.

An Interior Ministry statement said Andreas Kois’ resignation had been accepted and his replacement would be announced Wednesday. The statement did not give a reason for the 57-year-old fire chief’s resignation.

Greece’s conservative government had been widely criticized for its response to a string of deadly forest fires in the summer, which destroyed 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres) of forest and olive groves in the south, and ravaged a major national park on the outskirts of Athens.

At the time, media reports claimed Kois disagreed with the head of the country’s civil protection agency, Panayiotis Fourlas, over firefighting plans.

Fourlas resigned in September, while the minister responsible for firefighting, Vyron Polydoras, was ousted in a cabinet reshuffle after the conservatives’ re-election on Sept. 16.

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