Fires abate as weather cools

Firefighters fought several blazes in different parts of the country yesterday but the number of forest fires dropped considerably as temperatures cooled. The worst of yesterday’s fires was at the foot of Mount Olympus. Local authorities believe that the blaze, caused by three smaller fires which started simultaneously on Wednesday evening, was the work of arsonists. Mayor Nikolaos Valsamopoulos described the damage wreaked on forestland as «the worst since the German bombing of 1943.» Smaller fires were reported in Messinia, Iraklion on Crete, Serres, Florina, Kastoria and Kilkis. The fire in Messinia was close to residential areas but there were no reports of any damage. Most of the fires had been extinguished by nightfall but firefighters remained on standby. Meanwhile European Union figures showed that last month was the worst July on record for forest fires on the continent.