Amidst apocalyptic-themed news coverage about the wildfires in Europe from the mainstream media, Greece’s climate change minister has admitted that the majority of the fires that have ravaged his country were a result of arson.
Greek Climate Change Minister Vassilis Kikilias has revealed that the majority of the 667 fires that have erupted across the country in recent weeks were ignited by “were caused by human hand”.
Kikilias told reporters that the people responsible were guilty of “arsons either by criminal negligence or by intention”, according to Sky News.
While legacy media outlets have begun to begrudgingly admit that arson is playing a major role in the fires, they continue to claim that supposed climate change has made it easier for the fires to spread.
The Greek newspaper Kathimerini noted, however, that a significant element in the annual problem of wildfires is that “arsonists, who are usually tried for negligence since intent is extremely hard to prove, tend to get away with small sentences, rarely serve any prison time and face no other penalty for the terrible destruction they cause to humans, animals, the environment etc.”
The Greek climate minister reported that the fires have burnt 400 square kilometres of land in just the month of July, compared to the recent yearly average of around 500 square kilometres. While devastating, it should be noted that far more land was burned in previous years, including the recorded high in 2007 when about four times as much land was burned.
“This is not something that will just occur this year. It will last and we have to face the consequences of what that means,” Kikilias said.
A police drone captured a suspected arsonist on Monday in the Calabria region in southern Italy, amid widespread wildfires in the country’s biggest islands, Sicily and Sardinia. pic.twitter.com/ujIHRWHeLB
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 27, 2023
Over 20,000 tourists and residents have been evacuated from their homes and hotels in recent days. It has been estimated that 40 people have died as a direct result of the fires in Greece, Italy, and Algeria this season.
Conditions improved on Friday, with temperatures in the Mediterranean region dropping and wind slowing, allowing firefighters to better combat the fires that are still ablaze.
Arson has not only been identified as a cause of fires in Greece, with police drone footage in the southern Italian region of Calabria this week actually catching a man apparently in the act of trying to start a wildfire.
In response to the issue of arson, which occurs annually during the wildfire season, Calabria Governor Roberto Occhiuto established a specialised task force to combat the scourge of arson, including the fleet of thirty drones that caught the arsonist this week, Italy’s Il Giornale reports.