The catastrophic wildfires raging across Greece, which many have blamed on climate change, took a disturbing turn when police arrested 79 suspected “arsonists” charged with starting the fires.
The suspected arsonists are now being held responsible for deliberately setting fires, which have caused untold damage to the Greece and are described as Europe’s largest-ever wildfires.
Greece witnessed several attempts to spark new fires as left-wing leaders scrambled to blame the fires on climate change.
The wildfires have destroyed 130,000 hectares of land in Greece so far, according to the European Forest Fire Information System,
Minister Kikilias expressed outrage at these criminal acts that endangered forests and human lives.
Twenty people have already been killed due to the fires this week.
Kikilias said the perpetrators will not escape justice.
“You are committing a crime against the country,” Mr Kikilias said.
“Arsonist scum is setting fires that threaten forests, property, and, most of all, human lives,” he added.
“You will not get away with it; we will find you, and you will be held accountable.”
The BBC, who have been banging the climate change drum following the fires, wrote: “Summer wildfires are common in Greece, and scientists have linked the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including heatwaves, to climate change.”
“Stefan Doerr, who directs the Centre for Wildfire Research at Swansea University, says that more flammable landscapes – due to hot weather or poor vegetation management – mean that arson and other incidents can more easily turn into fast-moving wildfires,” the outlet added.
Greek City Times reported:
The Police and Greek intelligence service EYP are currently investigating the incidents. Pavlos Marinakis, the government spokesperson, stated that out of the 140 arrests made in connection with the wildfires, 79 were related to arson.
The wildfires have been raging across Greece, with a particularly large firefront near Alexandroupolis becoming the largest on record in the EU. Fires on Mount Parnitha near Athens have also been threatening a national park.
Tragically, the bodies of 19 people believed to be migrants, including children, were found in the Evros region earlier this week.
Additionally, a shepherd lost his life in the fires in the Boeotia region on Monday.
The country is experiencing its worst summer for wildfires since fire-risk maps were introduced in 2009.
Last month, thousands of people had to evacuate due to wildfires on the island of Rhodes and other parts of Greece.
Mr Kikilias said on Wednesday the country was going through the worst summer since fire-risk maps were introduced in 2009.
Just last month, thousands of people were forced to flee fires on the Greek island of Rhodes after wildfires broke out there and in other parts of the country.