Greece Unveils Stricter Penalties for Arson Amid Escalating Wildfires

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Greek Authorities to Impose Stricter Penalties for Arson Amid Escalating Wildfires

In response to a devastating wave of major wildfires that have already surpassed the damage recorded in the entire year of 2022, Greek authorities are gearing up to implement tougher penalties for arson. The proposed measures aim to deter potential offenders and bring justice to those responsible for causing destructive blazes.

Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias revealed that the details of these stringent measures would be unveiled in the coming month. He emphasized that fines for deliberate or negligent fire-causing acts would be raised significantly, reaching ten times the current level. Such penalties would be on par with the punishments introduced two years ago for animal abuse, which carry hefty fines of up to $55,000 and a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

Speaking in an interview with state television on Monday, Minister Kikilias underscored the need for a profound shift in mindset regarding fire prevention and safety. He affirmed that the upcoming fire season must transform the country, where the risk of wildfires is effectively mitigated.

The proposed changes go beyond imposing hefty fines; they include comprehensive measures to foster a forest fire prevention awareness culture. Minister Kikilias highlighted that educational programs in schools and locally-based initiatives would be crucial in promoting responsible behaviour and fire consciousness among citizens.

Greece has been grappling with the aftermath of ten major wildfires that struck the nation last month. The blazes ravaged vast areas, encompassing nearly 200 square miles of land. This staggering figure is more than double the total land burned in 2022, as reported by the European Forest Fire Information System, an agency of the European Union dedicated to tracking wildfire damage using satellite data.

With the climate crisis exacerbating the frequency and intensity of wildfires, Greek authorities are determined to take proactive steps to safeguard their cherished landscapes and communities from the ravages of fire. By implementing stricter penalties and cultivating a collective consciousness of fire prevention, Greece aims to fortify its resilience in the face of future wildfire challenges.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024