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greece fire

According to Greece’s Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas, there are “serious indications” that a fire that killed at least 83 people near Athens earlier this week was started deliberately.

The fire broke out on July 23 and hit coastal villages popular with tourists.

Authorities say that some 60 people are still being treated in hospital, 11 in intensive care. Dozens more are missing.

Image source Wikimedia

Greece Wildfire: Three Days of Mourning as 79 Died and Dozens Are Missing

Earlier, rescue workers searching a cliffside in the seaside town of Mati found more human remains.

A large number of the victims were caught close to the cliff as the flames spread rapidly, whipped up by winds as high as 75mph. Many of the survivors were saved by the sea, but dozens of victims were unable to reach the water.

Nikos Toskas also said that another fire that broke out near Athens a few hours earlier but did not cause casualties had been started intentionally.

The minister added that “climate conditions” in the areas affected by fire were “extreme due to climate change”.

Greek firefighters are battling wildfires on the eastern outskirts of Athens, and more fires in the southern Peloponnese peninsula which have forced villagers to flee.

The fire outside Athens spread quickly on a hillside and blanketed parts of the city in thick smoke.

Crews fought to keep the flames away from nearby residential areas.Greece forest fire 2015

Separately, several villages were evacuated in the Peloponnese as wildfires burned through rural land.

The flames, near the town of Monemvassia, forced one fire-fighting aircraft to make an emergency landing, according to reports.

“It’s hellish right now, there are hundreds of pockets of fire,” Iraklis Trichilis, mayor of the town of Monemvassia, earlier told Skai television.

The blaze outside the capital, fanned by strong winds, burned through woodland on Mount Hymettus, forcing some residents to flee their homes, Kathimerini newspaper said.

Although forest fires are not unusual in Greece, local media say these are bigger than in recent years.