AN URGENT holiday warning has been issued for those heading to Greece as wildfires across the country continue to spread.
The US Embassy has issued a natural disaster alert noting that there is a high risk of wildfires in various regions across the country.
"This high risk of fire is expected to continue in the coming days," it said in a statement.
It urged its citizens living or travelling in Greece to follow instructions from local authorities and register with Greece’s Emergency Communications Service for warning messages.
Firefighters have been battling flames all over the country as multiple raging wildfires have erupted in the past week.
Officials said that some of the catastrophic blazes that have left 21 people dead, were started deliberately by arsonists.
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The fire department said a man was arrested on the Greek island of Evia for allegedly setting fire to dry grass in the Karystos area.
The man confessed to having set four other fires in the area in July and August.
A second man arrested in Larissa in central Greece also was accused of intentionally setting fire to dried vegetation.
Officials have blamed arson for several fires in the country although it was unclear what sparked the largest blazes.
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Firefighters, backed by five planes and two helicopters continue their fight for the eighth day in the northeastern region of Evros, where the country's largest current blaze burns.
It's where earlier this week, 26 charred bodies were discovered near Alexandroupoli bringing the total number of casualties to 28.
Authorities believe the victims might have been migrants who recently crossed the border from Turkey.
Greeces Disaster Victim Identification Team was activated to identify the remains, and a telephone hotline set up for potential relatives of the victims to call.
"Some arsonists are setting fires, endangering forests, property and above all human lives," Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias said Thursday.
"What is happening is not just unacceptable, but despicable and criminal.
The minister said nine fires were set in the space of four hours in the Avlona area in the northern foothills of Mount Parnitha, a mountain on the northwestern fringes of Athens that is one of the capital's last green areas.
A major fire was already burning on the southern side of the mountain at the time, and it continued to burn.
"You are committing a crime against the country," Kikilias said. We will find you. You will be held accountable to justice.
260 firefighters, four planes and three helicopters are in the Mount Parnitha trying to contain the fire.
Earlier this week police arrested a 45-year-old man on suspicion of arson for allegedly setting at least three fires in the Avlona area.
A search of his home revealed kindling, a fire torch gun and pine needles, cops said.
Greece has been battling a daily outbreak of dozens of fires in the past week as strong winds rekindle flames.
Firefighters tackled 111 blazes Friday, including 59 that broke out in the 24 hours between Thursday and Friday evenings, the fire department said.
Although most new fires were controlled in their early stages, some grew to massive blazes that have consumed homes and vast tracts of forest.
Storms were forecast Saturday for some areas of Greece, and lightning strikes ignited several fires near the Greek capital.
The fire department said 100 firefighters, including contingents from France and Cyprus, backed up by four helicopters, brought fires in four outlying areas near the Greek capital under partial control within hours.
The fire department called on the public to be particularly careful and to follow directions by authorities given that intense thunderstorm activity is occurring in various parts of the country.
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Since the start of this year's fire season, fire department officials have arrested 163 people on fire-related charges, government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis said Friday, including 118 for negligence and 24 for deliberate arson.
"The police made a further 18 arrests, he said.
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