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Forest fire: Yacht crew charged after fireworks

Forest fire: Yacht crew charged after fireworks

At a hearing in Piraeus, crew members denied the allegations, according to ERT.

According to the report, the Public Prosecutor’s Office did not bring any charges against the 17 passengers of the yacht coming from Kazakhstan. Penalties for arson crimes have recently been increased in Greece. Officials now face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to 200,000 euros. Even negligent arson can result in imprisonment for up to ten years.

Fire in the only forest on the island

According to the fire department, fireworks launched from the boat on Friday evening set fire to the only pine forest on Hydra Island, near Athens. The fire broke out in an inaccessible place far from any roads.

According to a report published by the online weekly To Vima on Sunday, 30,000 square meters of valuable forests were burned on the barren island.

According to Minister of Climate and Civil Protection Vassilis Kikilias, six firefighting aircraft and two specially trained firefighting teams had to be deployed to contain the fire.

Anger at lack of consideration

The incident sparked angry reactions on the island. City Mayor Giorgos Koukoudakis expressed his “outrage at the irresponsibility of some people” and announced that the island's administration would also take civil action against those responsible.

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It's rare for arsonists to be caught in Greece, but sometimes authorities get lucky: A man was recently arrested after several video cameras recorded him starting a fire east of Athens that took two days to put out.

There has been an increased risk of wildfires for several days

With rising temperatures, strong winds and dry conditions, there has been an increased risk of wildfires in Greece for several days. On Friday, a 55-year-old man died in a forest fire in the village of Mertia on the Peloponnese peninsula, according to the fire department, and a total of 45 new fires were recorded that day.

According to the fire department, a total of 64 fires broke out in forests and forests in Greece within 24 hours. The area in the northwest of the Peloponnese peninsula was particularly problematic on Saturday. The situation there is still under control. Seven towns have already been evacuated. Firefighters and volunteers battled the flames throughout the night.

Fire risk remains high

The risk of forest fires in Greece remains high in several areas throughout the weekend, Greek Civil Defense said.

After the warmest winter on record, the country is preparing for a harsh summer with extreme heat and numerous forest fires. Scientists say forest fires are becoming more frequent and intense as a result of human-caused global warming.