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Politics

After Wildfires, Mitsotakis Says Fire Response Changes Coming

ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he will move on his vow to get to the bottom of what he said were lapses in responding to hundreds of simultaneous wildfires across Greece this summer and plans on “changing everything,” in fire disaster plans.

The New Democracy leader said the government ahead of the fires had bettered its capability to deal with such blazes but that they didn't work as expected, the country overwhelmed after a record heat wave made tinderboxes of forests.

The government will create a special corps of 500 specially trained firefighters that will operate in forest areas and deal with fires before they reach infrastructure networks, expected by January, 2022, said Kathimerini.

Responsibilities will be decentralized with forestry services placed under the centralized control of the Environment Ministry and backfires will be used to fight future fires by starting fires ahead of them to remove the fuel sources too.

Australia, which has used the method to deal with huge blazes there will be asked to provide training in that and the plan includes setting up regional civil protection centers and adding firefighters and water-dumping aircraft.

Firefighters will receive training in new forest surveillance and fire detection systems and technologies, mainly through drones and anti-fire zones will be set with Mitsotakis expected to make changes in the leadership of the Fire Brigade.

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