Greece — ATHENS A Greek court has convicted an elderly villager and four local officials on charges of negligence that led to 36 deaths five years ago in one of the countrys worst-ever wildfires.
Judges gave a suspended 10-year sentence to Sofia Nikolopoulou, who was accused of starting the fire accidentally while cooking outdoors in the southern Peloponnese region.
A former local mayor, a regional governor and a fireman received the same sentence for allegedly failing to take sufficient precautions, or not reacting efficiently after the fire started. The court in the southern town of Pyrgos on Tuesday also handed down a suspended five-year sentence to a local fire brigade official.
The August 2007 wildfire ravaged more than 170,000 hectares of land, destroying scores of homes.
All five defendants appealed their convictions. The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.