Greece’s Green party on Wednesday called for government officials to resign over their much-criticized handling of wildfires near Athens, while experts urged swift reforestation.
The government has defended its handling of the area’s worst blaze in decades, promising compensation for destroyed homes and to replant forests wiped out in 200 square kilometers near the capital.
The Greens said the government had failed in its duty to protect the country’s environment.
“The time has come for the resignation of those who had the responsibility of protecting forests and failed,” the Greens said in a statement.
Greek bloggers have called for a protest of the government in central Athens on Friday, echoing a similar gathering in 2007 after massive summer fires killed 76 people.
No one was killed in this week’s fire, but the environmental damage was immense.
The Greek branch of the WWF environmental said the government’s response to the blazes was “uncoordinated and insufficient.”
“There is no doubt that … the fires will have severe repercussions on the environment and on humans,” a WWF Greece statement said.
Another expert said unchecked development could cause the temperature to “go berserk,” rising up by 7 degrees Celsius in parts of the city near the burnt areas.
“These areas have to be reforested,” added Mike Petrakis, director of the Institute of Environmental Research at the National Observatory of Athens. He warned that the process would take decades.