Fires rage across Zakynthos and town near Athens



Greek authorities suspect arson could be behind a series of fires raging on several fronts on the western Greek island of Zakynthos.

The country's fire service says there are "well-founded suspicions of foul play" after five fires broke out late Saturday and early Sunday, followed by another three on Sunday morning.

Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis, who is also the local Parliament member, told Greek media, "This is planned."

The fire service said 10 of the 12 fires burning on Zakynthos are still unchecked, with high winds making it difficult to control the flames. A fire brigade commander says they have consumed mostly forests and olive groves so far.

A total of 53 wildfires broke out in Greece on Saturday and more did on Sunday, as a wildfire close to a village near Athens has also damaged dozens of houses and caused people to flee their homes, officials said.

More than 150 firefighters with 50 fire engines and three water-dropping helicopters battled the blaze, which broke out in Kalamos, a coastal area some 45 km (30 miles) northeast of Athens.

Greek authorities ordered a precautionary evacuation of two youth camps in the area.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.