The forest fire situation in Greece remains tense. On Friday morning the forest fire on the Parnitha mountains northwest of Athens looked much better – the wind had weakened there so that the flames could be largely brought under control, as fire department spokesman Giannis Artopoios told the Greek broadcaster ERT. However, the massive fires in the Dadia National Park and near the city of Alexandroupolis in the north-east of the country continued to rage unabated.

According to EU Crisis Protection Commissioner Janez Lenarcic, the fire fronts are already the largest forest fires in the history of the EU. The fire brigade spokesman said there were “big problems” there, with the wind also dropping somewhat in this region.

Many cases of arson

On Thursday evening, the Greek fire brigade reported 69 new sources of fire for the entire country within 24 hours, but most of them were brought under control. Spokesman Artopoios confirmed that there were many cases of arson, but also pointed out that the evidence was very difficult.

According to the spokesman, fire broke out at short intervals in various places, especially in the two largest sources of fire Parnitha and Dadia, but also on the island of Euboea. “We have leads that the authorities are investigating.” However, evidence such as fire accelerators can often hardly be found after the fires.

Such arson attacks are particularly difficult for the fire brigade because the emergency services have to intervene in different places at the same time within a very short time instead of concentrating on one source of the fire. If there is still strong wind, there is little chance of containing the fire immediately, Artopoios said.