More than 660 fires broke out in Greece, with the majority being human-induced, said Climate Crisis & Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias, adding that the country was for the first time in two weeks not on high risk.
Speaking during a press briefing, Kikilias described the situation as “difficult”, adding that the difference this year was the extremely high temperatures and strong winds.
“Never before have we had a map on high risk for so many days in a row, in so many regions,” he said.
“The vast majority of fires were human-induced, due to arson, criminal negligence or intent,” he said, adding that 74 people were injured and three lost their lives. This number does not include the two pilots of a fire-fighting aircraft that crashed in Evia earlier this week.
Kikilias went on to stress that climate change was here to stay and that the government had prioritized offering relief to those affected by the fires, identifying the causes and errors, and adapting policies on all levels to address the new reality.
During a meeting on Wednesday with Greece’s President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said “the climate crisis may be a reality, but it cannot be an excuse”, adding that efforts should now focus on adjusting fire prevention policies.