NEWS

Arson clue found at Grammatiko

The police’s forensic department was yesterday examining an unexploded incendiary device found near the area in Grammatiko, northeastern Attica, where a catastrophic wildfire started last Friday. The device was found by authorities in a spot only accessible by motorcycle or on foot, police said. The discovery of the device confirms suspicions of arson being the cause of the Grammatiko fire, though it is unclear whether there is any connection with an ongoing dispute over the government’s plans to create in the area a second landfill for Attica. Back in Athens, an investigation got under way into the authorities’ handling of this week’s catastrophic wildfires. The general inspector of public administration, Leandros Rakintzis, reportedly asked senior officials of the fire service and regional authority representatives to determine what exactly went wrong last weekend, allowing the fires to spread so quickly and reach the capital’s northeastern suburbs. Meanwhile, forestry experts have told Kathimerini that the creation of «mixed forests» including fire-resistant greenery would be a good way of averting such catastrophes in the future. According to Georgios Lyrintzis, director of the Institute of Forestry Research of Athens, about 5,000 hectares of some 20,000 hectares burned in the fires can be reforested. But Lyrintzis suggested a more creative approach to reforesting that would give the regenerated land some built-in protection. Instead of simply replanting pine saplings to replace the burned trees, most of which are pines, he proposed the planting of other saplings and shrubs. «A mixed forest is definitely more resilient to fire and it also has the added benefit of offering more sources of food for resident birds,» Lyrintzis said.