Wednesday, Jun. 08, 2011

Greece, 2007

Throughout the summer of 2007 Greece was ravaged by forest fires that killed 84 people and burned 670,000 acres of forest and farmland. The fires, which consumed much of the island of Peloponnese, burned from June to September, but were most dangerous in August. In that month alone, 67 people died from the blazes. The last fire was eventually extinguished on Sept. 3, 2007, but only after flames had reached the outskirts of Athens. While investigating two of the major fires on Peloponnese, Greek officials arrested a 26-year old farmer on suspicion of arson. The farmer confessed and was sentenced to prison. But he may not have been the only culprit. Kostas Karamanlis, the Greek Prime Minister suggested that many others fires had also been intentionally started. "So many fires breaking out simultaneously in so many parts of the country cannot be a coincidence," Karamanlis said in a national televised address. "The state will do everything it can to find those responsible and punish them."