3 arrested for suspected arson as wildfires rage in Greece

Greek authorities said that three people have been arrested for suspected arson as devastating wildfires continue to scorch thousands of hectares of forest land across the country.

The Fire Brigade has activated teams of arson investigators and so far three people have been arrested over the fires in Fokida prefecture, Attica region and Kalamata city in Peloponnese, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said in an emergency briefing.

“A total of 98 new fire outbreaks were recorded in the last 24 hours. Firemen were trying to extinguish 154 fires on Friday, 64 of them are still active,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Minister as saying.

In the northern suburbs of Athens, firefighters raced to contain the fires destroying forests and houses and heading to Lake Marathon, as authorities carried out massive evacuations.

Major national highways have shut down and train services suspended, while power and water outages were reported.

On Friday, a man died after a head injury from a falling electricity pole in an area north of Athens affected by the fire.

On Evia island, the ongoing blaze which has split and spread across a large area, led the authorities to evacuate residents and tourists by sea as there was no other way of escape.

A coast guard vessel rescued 10 people trapped on a beach by another fire in the southern Peloponnese region.

More than 1,000 firefighters and nearly 20 aircraft were battling major fires across the country, while extra aid with firefighters, planes, helicopters and vehicles were arriving from France, Switzerland, Romania, Cyprus, Croatia, Israel and Sweden.