Amaliada fires seen as arson

After an all-night effort, firefighters in the northwestern Peloponnese managed early yesterday to extinguish seven forest fires that broke out at the same time on Thursday in the area of Amaliada. At least another two fires broke out yesterday as strong winds persisted in much of the country, while four blazes that started on Thursday were brought under control. Fire brigade chief Panayiotis Fourlas, who personally supervised the operation to put out the Amaliada fires, blamed the conflagration on arsonists. «There were too many fires within a small distance of each other for this to have been a coincidence,» he said. By late yesterday, police in the area had interviewed at least 30 suspects, but made no arrests. Meanwhile, firemen and firefighting aircraft managed to bring under control a large forest fire that broke out near Karystos in southern Evia yesterday, while a smaller blaze near Elefsina in western Attica was quickly contained. Firemen also extinguished forest blazes that started on Thursday in the vicinity of Gytheion, Arta, Kontovazena in Arcadia and Astakos in Aitoloacarnania.