Fire-fighters saved temples and stadiums of ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, from rampant flames which consumed nearby villages and took the death toll from Greece’s three-day inferno to 60. Fires are raging from northern Greece to the tip of the Peloponnese peninsula in the south causing unprecedented destruction.
Hundreds of houses have been burned and thousands of people forced to flee the ravages. The Greek government, which declared a nationwide state of emergency on Saturday, believes that arsonists are behind the worst fires to hit the country in decades. They have offered rewards of up to one million euros to help track down the fire starters.
Public Order minister Byron Polydoras said: “The way the fires spread, the time of the fires, the night attacks and the igniting of fires in remote areas difficult to reach for ordinary people lead us to believe we are under attack.”
Many local mayors have accused rogue developers of setting light to land to make way for new construction projects on virgin forest and farm land. So far police have arrested four people on suspicion of arson.