Empty properties, many of which near forested or urban areas, are posing a major threat for fires, reports citing residents in Greece stated this week.

During inspections for the official launch of the wildfire season, Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias admitted that Greece would be faced with a very difficult challenge this summer. One of the major problems concerns unused properties, many full of weeds, leaves and other dry materials which serve as hotspots in the summer heat.

Clearing out plots ahead of the summer is the responsibility of municipal authorities, say property owners living near parks or forests who have already been required to take action.

Locals of the northwest Athens suburb of Varibobi, which was devastated by fires in 2021, told MEGA channel earlier this week that vacant private or municipal properties are posing a serious threat. They went on to add that although homeowners have gone ahead and cleared out their own properties, they still face the danger of fire because municipal authorities have not taken any actions regarding municipal properties.

They are calling for immediate action and fines.

Kikilias inspected prevention measures, which include the maintenance of roads, pruning, clearing weeds and debris, on Mt. Penteli this week. He went on to say that already firefighters were dealing with dozens of fires every day made worse by the high temperatures for the season.

The ministry has announced plans to double the number of firefighters in specialized units and to use new technologies to address the increasing risk of wildfire in residential areas.