NEWS

Arson suspected in island blaze

Firefighters were battling to curb a large blaze on the Ionian island of Zakynthos that had ravaged around 100 hectares of pine forest by late on Monday amid speculation of an arson attack.

A 40-year-old local was arrested in the afternoon, shortly after the fire broke out in the area of Volimes, in the island?s north.

Speaking to Kathimerini, Zakynthos Mayor Stelios Bozikis said he was certain the blaze had been set intentionally, noting that the fire had started on three fronts simultaneously.

?Over the past 10 days we have had several fires in the same area,? Bozikis said, adding that the expanse of pine forest in the Volimes area is being claimed by many different parties including a local monastery.

A total of 20 firefighters, manning 10 engines, continued their attempts to curb the blaze late into the night but strong winds and the dry conditions created by high temperatures hampered their efforts.

Rising temperatures and strong winds conspired to fuel several forest fires on Sunday, with the worst blazes reported in northern Evia and in Keratea, southwest of Athens.