Kythira sought fire­fight­ing sup­port

Mayor of is­land rav­aged by blaze ap­pealed for more staff, equip­ment sev­eral times

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

In the wake of last week’s huge fire on the is­land of Kythira, off the Pelo­pon­nese, which razed some 2,300 hectares of farm­land, Kathimerini has learned that the is­land’s mayor, Ef­s­tra­tios Harha­lakis, had writ­ten to three dif­fer­ent fire ser­vice chiefs over the past twoand-a-half years, warn­ing about the acute short­ages in the is­land’s fire­fight­ing equip­ment and staff.

Kythira cur­rently has just six full­time fire­fight­ers, half the min­i­mum to en­sure an ad­e­quate re­sponse to for­est blazes on the 278-square kilo­me­ter is­land.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the fire ser­vice and Greek Po­lice were both on standby yes­ter­day fol­low­ing Tues­day night’s fire in the Veikou Woods (Al­sos Veikou), north­east of cen­tral Athens, ap­par­ently the work of an ar­son­ist. Mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties yes­ter­day over­saw an op­er­a­tion to clear the area of garbage while the head of the fire ser­vice, Vas­silis Kape­lios, or­dered in­spec­tions in all wooded ar­eas of Athens and other cities in a bid to pre­vent sim­i­lar fires.

Strong winds yes­ter­day fanned the flames of a for­est fire in the area of Zeli in the pre­fec­ture of Fthi- otida, cen­tral Greece, ham­per­ing the ef­forts of fire­fight­ers to con­tain the blaze and keep it away from res­i­den­tial ar­eas. The fire had been only par­tially doused by night­fall.

Mean­while a 24-year-old man was re­manded in cus­tody yes­ter­day af­ter au­thor­i­ties linked him to 16 fires on for­est- and farm­land in the ar­eas of Pen­teli, An­t­housa and Ger­aka be­tween July 14 and Au­gust 1.

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