Greece wildfires: 13 arrested after Hydra island’s only pine forest set ablaze by fireworks – Times of India
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Greek authorities arrested 13 people on Saturday after fireworks launched from a yacht started a wildfire on the island of Hydra, near Athens.
The fire, which started late Friday, was caused by fireworks launched from a boat. It burned the only pine forest on Hydra in an area difficult to access without any roads, according to Hydra’s firefighting team on Facebook, as per an AFP report.Greece has toughened its penalties for arson, with perpetrators now facing up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to 200,000 euros ($214,000),” the fire service added in their statement.
Officials conducted an inquiry leading to the arrest of 13 people, who will be presented before a prosecutor on Sunday, according to a fire service statement. “The arrests come after allegations that the forest fire was sparked by fireworks launched from the yacht on Friday night,” an official told Reuters.
This comes during a season marred by deadly summer fires in Greece, with at least one person already reported dead this week. The mayor of Hydra expressed outrage and promised legal action against those responsible. “Outrage,” he said, while urging legal action against the “irresponsible” individuals behind the fireworks. Speaking to the ERT public broadcaster, the mayor said, “Authorities had to create more anti-fire zones and roads through forests.”
Another wildfire erupted Saturday on the island of Andros, leading to the evacuation of four villages. Emergency services deployed planes and helicopters to drop water on the flames, attempting to control the spread.
As Greece braces for what is expected to be a difficult summer fire season, the civil protection service has called for extreme vigilance. “The risk of fires is very high,” particularly in the Attica region, the Peloponnese peninsula, and central Greece, authorities warned.
Greece recently recorded its first heatwave of the year, with temperatures soaring above 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit) in some regions. This follows the warmest winter the Mediterranean country has ever experienced. Firefighters have been battling wildfires fed by three days of fierce winds, resulting in the death of a 55-year-old man who collapsed while fighting flames near his village.
Last year’s intense two-week heatwave was followed by devastating wildfires that claimed 20 lives.
Scientists have linked the increasing frequency and intensity of heatwaves to fossil fuel emissions, which are exacerbating the length and impact of wildfire seasons. Rising temperatures are extending wildfire seasons and increasing the area affected by these blazes, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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