Military to bolster fire patrols, as arson suspected in Attica blaze


Greece's Defense Council has dispatched specially trained members of the armed forces and National Guard to bolster fire-prevention patrols by civil protection authorities, as the country struggles to contain several wildfires, and particularly that of east Attica, which has claimed at least 50 lives so far.

Convened by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos on Tuesday morning after he flew over the blighted area east of the Greek capital earlier in the day, the council also announced that Greek and allied drones and air craft will be providing live aerial feeds to civil defense authorities from parts of the country that are at particular risk of fire or arson.

The increased measures come amid growing speculation that the east Attica fire, as well as several blazes in the region of Corinth, may be the result of arson.

On Monday, Citizens' Protection Minister Nikos Toskas suggested as much, saying that three or four blazes had been extinguished on Sunday in almost the same area where Monday's devastating fire started on the slopes of Mount Pendeli before spreading down to the coast.

“These fires are not so innocent,” he said.

Meanwhile, Greece's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered an investigation into the causes of the east Attica blaze.