New model of forest defense on the cards

New model of forest defense on the cards

Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias announced Tuesday that the government intends to introduce interventions in forest protection, insisting that the government will not back down from doing what is necessary.

“We will break eggs,” he said, while also hinting at failures of the forestry departments.

“Forests cannot wait, one must safeguard them under all circumstances and not cite underfunding or union reasons,” he added. 

Moreover, referring to the inability of the state mechanisms to contain the devastating wildfires that ripped through the country, he cited an “unprecedented” combination of the large number of blazes and the prolonged heatwave.

“From August 1 to 8 we had 586 fires. Every day we had to deal with a three-digit number of fires,” he said, adding there would be an assessment of the fire management.

However, he insisted that the the handling of the fire was the best possible under the circumstances and resulted in no casualties.

Responding to claims that the response to the first fire last Tuesday in Varybobi was delayed, he claimed that the first drops of water were made within 20 minutes.

Regarding the resurgence of the front in the same area on Thursday, which eventually led to the destruction of the entire estate in Tatoi, he claimed that the fire was not contained because it broke out in a composite forest that had not been cleared and that strong winds further hampered efforts.

“The truth is that this fire disorganized us. The moment we redeployed our forces to the other fronts, it took us back. However, we responded immediately and made the first water drop in seven minutes,” he said and also defended the firefighting interventions made by the Civil Protection service at Ippokrateios Politeia and Tatoi, claiming the situation could have been far worse.

However, he stressed, that he would not shy from taking responsibility. “I have always taken responsibility and my resignation is always in the prime minister’s drawer,” he added.

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