Attica’s worst fire in a decade razes Parnitha

The worst forest fire in more than a decade yesterday ravaged some 3,000 hectares of Mount Parnitha, one of the few oases of green in Attica’s concrete jungle, as ash rained down on the capital. Meanwhile fires in other parts of the country, many of which had started on Thursday, continued to burn, some threatening homes. The worst of the blazes were in Pelion, Schimatari, north of Athens, and Aghia near Larissa. Several blazes also broke out in Halkidiki, ravaged by a huge fire last summer. Troops joined hundreds of firefighters in efforts to contain the blaze on Parnitha, which started on Thursday afternoon at Dervenohoria, some 15 kilometers away. Several water-dropping planes spearheaded firefighting efforts from the air. Light rainfall yesterday evening made the firefighters’ job easier. Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras had earlier yesterday called for curbs on water being dumped from the air amid fears that electricity pylons might be hit. His call reportedly provoked the ire of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. But Polydoras claimed the government had «tackled a difficult task with relative success.» Leaders of opposition parties visiting the sites of the blazes condemned the government. PASOK leader George Papandreou slammed authorities for «ineffective planning.» But the sharpest criticism came from environmentalists and local residents. «Mount Parnitha was crucial for the climate of the city,» said Dimitris Karavellas, head of WWF Greece. «The effects of this disaster will be felt for months,» he said. More than 300 fires have broken out in Greece since Wednesday, fueling speculation that some were the work of arsonists. Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas yesterday ordered an investigation into what caused the blazes and whether any individuals or officials should be charged. Fire also ravaged Cyprus’s Troodos mountain range yesterday, threatening holiday homes.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.