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Islands swept by fire outbreaks

- by Archimedes

Islands swept by fire outbreaks.

Wildfires have swept across several Greek holiday islands as summer sunshine leaves forests and fields tinder dry. Firefighters on the western Ionian island of Kefalonia have managed to contain a blaze despite strong winds threatening to fan the flames. In the east the Greek Army was called in to help halt a blaze on the island of Thassos which swept through the holiday areas of Kalirachis and Maries.

The Thassos fire triggered memories of a blaze in 1989 that destroyed much of the forest in the south of the island, evidence of which still remains to this day.

Firefighters on Thassos feared for their lives after 17 were surrounded and trapped by flames near Kalirachis as they tried to prevent fire reaching inhabited areas.

At its height, more than 90 firefighters had been drafted in from the mainland along with 36 fire fighting vehicles and firefighting planes. Strong winds kept changing direction, adding to the problems.

A 56-year-old man has been detained on suspicion of arson after the blaze that broke out in Katsimidi, near Mount Parnitha.

Others has also been arrested following fire outbreaks on the island of Chios and on Kefalonia. Other fires on the mainland in Arcadia, Achaia and Ftiothida had been brought under control .

Greek authorities announced a ban on weekend motorists and walkers in many of the forested areas of Greece is an attempt to curb the fire outbreaks.

It applies to all forests near urban areas and to those areas with very high wildfire risk. Restrictions may be extended and forest patrols are to be stepped up.