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 Greece fires threaten ancient Olympia

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PostSubject: Greece fires threaten ancient Olympia   Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:36 am

For those concerned with and connected to our ancient past and anccestors and the roots of magick and our tradiditional beleifs, I thought I would post this article I came acorss.

Soldiers, firemen and aircraft have battled towering flames in Greece which threatened some of antiquity's most famous sites.

Waves of fire travelling at high speed yesterday licked the fringes of Olympia, a world heritage site and home of the original Olympic Games.

It came as large parts of Greece were engulfed by flames in scenes described as "hellish".

Soldiers in Olympia dug fire breaks while fire-fighting aeroplanes and helicopters buzzed overhead.

Despite their efforts, the blaze, fanned by strong winds, continued to advance.

The site's sprinkler system, which is designed to protect its treasures from forest fires, also proved ineffective. However, by yesterday evening, firemen appeared to have halted its progress.

The blazes have claimed at least 57 lives since they began on Friday. The worst of the damage has been in the southern Peloponnese peninsula.

Rescue workers are sifting through debris which includes the charred bodies of victims. More are expected to be discovered in the coming days as police reach areas that remained cut off last night.

Andreas Kais, a Greek fire chief, said that fires were spreading across the Peloponnese's rugged terrain that fire engines cannot access because of hills and ravines.

Efforts to douse the flames from the air were also difficult, he claimed, because plumes of thick smoke made accurate, low-altitude water drops effectively impossible.

"Greece has 17 fire-fighting planes and 13 helicopters, the largest such special force in southern Europe," he said, adding that help arriving from other countries would "double our force".

"But to be honest, even if we had 500 planes and 50,000 specially trained firefighters, we would not be able to prevent this disaster because of the very unfavourable conditions prevailing."

He described the combination of high temperatures, gale-force winds and the repeated changes in wind direction as impossible to combat.

Arson has been blamed for several blazes across the country. Seven people have been detained, including a 65-year-old man who was charged with arson and multiple counts of homicide in a fire that killed six people in Areopolis, in the southern Peloponnese.

Separately, two youths were arrested on suspicion of arson in the northern city of Kavala, and four people were detained on suspicion of unintentionally causing fires on the island of Evia.

A reward of up to €1 million (£680,000) was offered yesterday for information leading to any arrests.

Costas Karamanlis, Greece's prime minister, blamed arsonists for the outbreaks, saying that "so many fires in different places and at the same time cannot be a coincidence".

Mr Karamanlis is facing elections in three weeks' time, but campaigning has been suspended while the country tackles what the government has deemed a "national disaster".

Athens, the capital, was not spared the effects of the fires as smoke wafted through the streets and white ash floated around the city's most celebrated site, the Parthenon.

However, the tourist industry has been left largely unscathed. A British embassy spokesman said that its consular services have been put on full alert. "We are in close contact with Greek authorities, but so far action has not been necessary," he said.

In Olympia, villagers from houses which stood between the flames and the fire complained that efforts were being directed to protect ancient monuments at the expense of their homes. "It's hell everywhere," said Costas Ladas, a resident who said the fire covered more than a mile in three minutes.

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