Greece records first casualty in summer wildfires

08:49, July 15, 2011      

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The charred body of a 75-year-old man was discovered Thursday afternoon in southern Greece, the first casualty this summer of an annual battle against wildfires.

According to local media, firefighters traced the victim as a raging fire was torching forested areas at Laconia prefecture.

Amid a heat wave that affects Greece over the past few days, combined with strong winds, Greek authorities are on alert nationwide for fear of arsonists as well.

Over 75 wildfires were reported across the country during the last weekend. Most of them have been contained in a few hours.

Greece suffers from wildfires every summer which cause fatalities and environmental disasters.

The latest big inferno in the summer of 2007 in many parts of the country resulted in dozens of deaths.

Fire Brigade unionists claim that due to the acute debt crisis that has hit Greece since late 2009, there has been a dramatic reduction in funds available to counter wildfires, therefore the risk of new tragedies has increased.

Source: Xinhua
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