Kythira sought firefighting support
Mayor of island ravaged by blaze appealed for more staff, equipment several times
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.