The majority of the 667 fires that have ravaged Greece in recent weeks were deliberately started “by human hand,” according to the country’s senior climate crisis official. As Greece emerges from an unprecedented 15-day heatwave-induced inferno, the extent of the devastation is becoming evident.
Although this year’s weather conditions have been highly unusual, with experts declaring the first three weeks of July as the hottest on record, the government asserts that many of the fires could have been prevented. Vassilis Kikilias, the Greek minister of climate crisis and civil protection, stated that the numerous fires, averaging over 60 per day, were mainly ignited due to either criminal negligence or intentional acts.
In some locations, the fires erupted at multiple points in close proximity, indicating the possible involvement of arsonists seeking to spread the fires. Kikilias acknowledged the impact of climate change, which led to an unprecedented heatwave, coupled with strong winds on most days. The situation has drawn attention to the urgent need for measures to combat wildfires and address human-related factors contributing to the crisis.