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Who started the massive Greek wildfires, “the nation’s worst disasters in recent memory”?

43

The death toll has risen to 80, but there are fears the final number will reach over 100.

Hundreds more are injured, with at least nine in intensive care. About 1,000 homes have been destroyed

Emergency services have reported being inundated with calls from desperate relatives searching for missing loved ones.

My guess: arson jihad. The migrants have been setting fire to the camps for months.

At least 74 people have died and scores more injured as wildfires tore through woodland and villages around the Greek capital, Athens, local officials said.  The death toll rose sharply on Tuesday after 26 bodies were found near the harbour town of Rafina, according to Red Cross workers and the region’s vice mayor, Girgos Kokkolis.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared three days of national mourning.

According to officials, at least 187 people, including 23 children, were injured in the fires, which damaged structures, disrupted major transport links and sent people fleeing their homes.

In Aftermath of Greek Fires, Suspicion Combines With Grief and Recrimination

By Jason Horowitz

NEOS VOUTZAS, Greece — The first fire alarm sounded in Kineta, a town an hour west of Athens, the capital, at 12:30 p.m. on Monday. Then, at 4:57 p.m. the authorities received calls on their 199 hotline reporting flames near Rafina, east of the capital.

Just about an hour later, the wildfire had reached Neos Voutzas, to the northeast, then powered by gale-force winds, moved “like a lava flow” down the hill to the seaside town of Mati, fire officials said.

Greeks on Wednesday were still piecing together one of the nation’s worst disasters in recent memory. But many were asking how so many scattered fires had broken out in so short a span and spread with such fatal velocity. Suspicion of arson combined with grief and recrimination as shattered Greeks sifted through the ruins of fires that killed at least 81 people.

Officials and residents braced for the toll to climb still higher as rescue workers searched for an undetermined number of people feared dead among as many as 2,500 burned homes.

“Those fires are not so innocent,” Nikos Toskas, Greece’s minister of public order and citizen protection, said on Monday, apparently suspicious of the proliferation of so many small fires.

Firefighters were still putting out smoldering areas as Greece suffered a fatal combination of scorching 100-degree temperatures and severe drought that turned its hillside forests into kindling. The strongest winds in eight years rained burning pines down like missiles as the fires spread.

An expected investigation into the cause of the fires will not begin until all of them are out, a fire brigade spokesman said. But Greeks speculated that the fires could have been started on purpose by landowners eager to clear protected forestland for development, and residents and officials disagreed as to whether an evacuation was ever ordered.

For decades, illegally built homes in wooded areas have raised concerns even as the government, desperate for cash in the wake of the 2010 debt crisis, allowed owners to pay light fines to enter into regulation. The disregard for rules and regulations that often has plagued Greece may have contributed to a disaster that not everyone is convinced was natural.

Marathon Avenue, the area’s major thoroughfare and the route dating to the road run by the ancient messenger, is now spotted with companies like Easy Home, which sells prefabricated houses to Athenians hungry for an affordable vacation house by the sea.

Closer to the coast, more stores sell cinder blocks, cords of wood, fireplaces and outdoor furniture supplies. Many of the burned houses tucked into the woods or on small ravines had the structure of those prefabricated, and sometimes illegally constructed, houses.

“It’s obvious that if you build a house in a forest, you may have a problem,” said Dimitris Papaspiropoulos, 49, who checked on his vineyards off the avenue near Rafina. He pointed out a house he said was illegally built up the scorched road. “If they keep building houses they will keep having problems.”

Kaiti Milioni, 55, who has a summer house in Mati, blamed poor urban planning for the disaster.

“There is no street or town planning, there aren’t any proper roads, most of the houses were built in the 60s, these houses should have been demolished and built again from scratch,” Ms. Milioni said. “We’ve been making these demands to the Marathon municipality for years, but we never received a response.”

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