PLAYING WITH FIRE13 People Arrested Following Yacht Fireworks Incident that Ignited Blaze on Greek Island of Hydra

Thirteen individuals have been arrested in connection with a forest fire on the Greek island of Hydra, which officials allege was ignited by fireworks launched from a yacht. The blaze, which began on Friday, ravaged the island’s only pine forest and has now been brought under control, albeit with considerable difficulty.

In a statement on Saturday, the Greek fire service confirmed that all 13 suspects are Greek citizens and are expected to appear before prosecutors on Sunday. The statement, however, did not provide any further details regarding the yacht involved in the incident.

Hydra’s mayor, Giorgos Koukoudakis, expressed his anger over the cause of the fire. “We are indignant that some people so irresponsibly throw fireworks into a pine forest,” he told Greek broadcaster ERT. The incident has sparked outrage across Greece, which is already grappling with several wildfires amid its first heatwave of the year. One social media user commented, “Rich people with more money than brains.”

The fire posed significant challenges for the firefighting teams, as the beach lacks road access. Firefighters had to reach the site by sea, while helicopters were deployed to drop water from the air.

Greek Firefighters shared this photo, but it is unclear if this was the yacht involved in the incident. | Credit: Facebook

Greece has been on high alert for wildfires since Tuesday, and authorities are preparing for a challenging summer due to persistent dry conditions, strong winds, and high temperatures. The situation is exacerbated by the recent death of a 55-year-old volunteer firefighter, who succumbed to injuries sustained while battling a fire in the southern region of Ilia on the Peloponnese peninsula.

Summer wildfires are a frequent occurrence in Greece, with scientists attributing the increasing frequency and severity of these events to climate change. The country also faces a persistent issue with arsonists. Last August, at least 79 individuals were arrested in connection with deadly wildfires.

In response to the growing threat, Greece has implemented stricter arson laws. Perpetrators now face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to €200,000.

As Greece braces for more extreme weather events, the authorities continue to emphasize the importance of responsible behavior and stringent enforcement of fire safety regulations.

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