Forest and wild fires have been on the rise across the Balkans, with authorities suspecting that many of the fires are caused by arson. AP reported on Monday that Greek authorities has arrested a 24-year-old man, charging him with starting 16 fires over the past five months.
According to the source, a Fire Service announced that the man is accused of deliberately setting fire to forests, farmland and empty plots in areas east and northeast of the capital Athens from March 14 to Aug. 1 of 2017.
The 24-year old man is scheduled to appear before a misdemeanor court magistrate on Sunday.
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.
On August 1, sources reported that dozens of firefighters battled a large brush fire south of Athens, though no inhabited areas were in immediate danger.
According to Greek authorities, some 70 firefighters on the ground, backed up by more than 30 fire engines and water tankers, were taking part in the operation. During daylight hours, five water-dropping helicopters assisted in the efforts.
The blaze broke out in the Kalyvia area some 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Athens, and quickly spread through tinder-dry vegetation due to strong winds.
Summer wildfires are common in Greece. Dozens of people died in major blazes in 2007.