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Greek PM > Burnt forests to be replanted July 3, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment, Greece News, Nature.

The Prime Minister pledged Sunday that thousands of acres of forests destroyed by wildfires across Greece in recent days would be replanted, including sections in the Mount Parnitha National Park.

Since Wednesday, fires have destroyed more than 15,000 acres of forests left tinder-dry by a weeklong heat wave. The fires have been blamed for several deaths, including that of a 26-year-old volunteer firefighter. Arsonists seeking to clear land for development are suspected in some blazes.

greece_forest_fire1.jpg  Burnt fir trees cover parts of Mount Parnitha National Park, some 20 kilometers north-west of Athens, Sunday, July 1, 2007. Officials said Sunday a blaze in the park, which has destroyed at least 2,500 hectares (6,200 acres) of forest over the past four days, was now contained to three spots.

“I stress most emphatically that all burnt forests are automatically scheduled for reforestation,” Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said. “Wherever forests stood, there will be forests once again.”

Hundreds of firefighters and army conscripts fought Sunday to extinguish a large blaze that has destroyed 6,200 acres of pine and fir in the Mount Parnitha National Park, on the northwestern fringes of Athens, over the past four days.

Officials said the blaze was contained to three main spots in the 64,000-acre park, which hosts more than 1,000 wildlife species. Authorities said an incendiary device was found on Mount Parnitha.

greece_forest_fire2.jpg  Rainfall in northern and central Greece helped firefighters contain two large forest fires Saturday, but a blaze that has destroyed more than 2,100 hectares (5,200 acres) of woodland near Athens continued for a third day.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias said the Parnitha blaze was costing the greater Athens region its only remaining major green area, “in other words, its hope.”

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