Wildfires eating Albania, Greece and Italy summoned to help


After the immense wildfires that have been sweeping across Albania for weeks, Albanian authorities are forced to seek support from Greece and Italy to help battle the fires.

The wildfires which have raged in the country for weeks reached a critical point on Thursday, when Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati asked Greece and Italy to send airplanes as it is the only way to help Albanian firefighters put out fires and put flames under control, said the Albanian ministry in a press release.

According to news sources, two airplanes from Greece and others from Italy are to be sent. Meanwhile, Albanian emergency authorities informed that 25 fires had broken out in the last 24 hours in different districts of Albania.

Around 200 military personnel, 150 firefighters, and several experts from other state agencies are taking part in the process. However, due to the complex terrain in several spots, they have sought intervention from the air.

Albania's interior minister made a solid statement earlier on Thursday, threatening severe punishment to anyone intentionally setting fires.

According to police, most of the fires were deliberately set, while the hot weather has furthered their spread.

The Interior ministry also on Thursday reported that a fire at a forest in the capital Tirana's district was extinguished after burning 10 hectares (25 acres). In southwestern Albania, wildfires were threatening the Llogara National Park as the firefighters were unable to extinguish the blaze in the region's steep mountains. Helicopters were being used to keep fires under control.

Earlier in July, Several wildfires have erupted in Southeast Europe and are said to have been caused by arson.

Forest fires are common in southern Europe each summer, and can sometimes be caused by reckless tourists. However, there have also been cases where speculators have deliberately set fire to properties seeking new land to build on.