Four arson suspects arrested in Greece, as fire on Evia island continues

Four suspects of arson have been arrested across Greece, the Fire Service announced on Thursday, as firefighting efforts to put out a wildfire on Evia island continued for a third day.

Two Greeks, aged 52 and 58, were detained in southern and western Peloponnese peninsula and two foreign nationals on Chios island, according to an e-mailed press release.

Firefighters battled dozens of blazes nationwide also on Thursday, with the focus remaining on Evia island, two hour’s drive from Athens where a wildfire that broke out early Tuesday still continued.

Supported by reinforcements from other European countries the Greek Fire Service managed to control on Wednesday a major front near four villages which had been evacuated Tuesday, but flames rekindled and were still raging on Thursday in a ravine near another village which was also evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Efforts to contain the blaze have been hampered by strong winds. The Fire Brigade and locals suspect arson.

No casualties, serious injuries or extensive damages in residential zones have been reported, but a large part of a forest, which was part of EU’s Natura network of protected areas, has been scorched, according to authorities.

Another Natura area was at risk from a wildfire which broke out on Thursday afternoon on Corfu island in western Greece, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

Each summer Greece faces hundreds of wildfires which in most cases are linked to arson or heat waves. In the summer of 2018 a wildfire which swept through a resort near Athens caused over 100 casualties.