Main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis called a meeting at ND headquarters on Monday afternoon to discuss the rash of wildfires that has swept Greece in recent days. Sources in the party said the meeting focused on the large number of fires that started during the summer, in spite of the frequent rains and damp weather.
Coverage by fire-fighting aircraft was deemed inadequate, given a shortage of parts for the Canadair aircraft used to fight fires, as well as delays in the leasing and delivery of helicopters.
Mitsotakis repeated six proposals that he had made for fire prevention planning and for fighting fires, such as preventative clearing of underbrush and other potential flammable material in forests, opening more forest roads and fire breaks and placement of additional tanks to refill helicopters. He also noted a need to improve Hellenic Air Force fire-fighting means, set up a forest protection agency and a “forest commandos” unit in the fire brigade, make use of new technology to locate fires in the early stages, improved coordination of fire-fighting agencies and greater emphasis on post-fire flooding prevention and anti-erosion works.
ND announced plans to soon present the party’s overall forest policy platform, focusing on prevention, fire fighting and restoration.