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Rajoni

They threw fireworks from a yacht and set fire to the forest, 13 people suffered badly

They threw fireworks from a yacht and set fire to the forest, 13 people suffered

Greek authorities arrested 13 people on Saturday after fireworks launched from a yacht ignited a forest fire on an island near Athens, as the country faces a new season of deadly summer fires.

The mayor of the island of Hydra expressed "outrage" after the fire broke out late on Friday and vowed legal action against those responsible.

Dozens of fires in Greece this week have left at least one person dead.

The latest fire "was caused by fireworks launched from a boat and burned the only pine forest on the island, in a place that is difficult to access and has no roads," the Hydra firefighting team said on Facebook.

Thirteen people accused of involvement in the fireworks have been arrested following an investigation by the fire service and will appear before the prosecutor on Sunday, according to a statement from the fire service.

No details on the suspects have been released. Greece has toughened its penalties for arson, with perpetrators now facing 20 years in prison and fines of up to €200,000 (£169,000).

Leading the call for legal action against "irresponsible" people behind the fireworks, Hydra Mayor Giorgos Koukoudakis told public broadcaster ERT that authorities needed to create more fire-fighting zones and roads through forests.

Another fire broke out on the island of Andros on Saturday, emergency services said. Four villages were evacuated and planes and helicopters were brought in to bomb the flames.

The civil defense service called for extreme vigilance because the risk of fires was "very high", especially in the Attica region, the Peloponnese peninsula and central Greece.

Greece is bracing for a difficult summer as authorities warn that strong winds and high temperatures have increased the risk.

After its warmest winter ever, the Mediterranean country recorded its first heatwave of the year last week, with temperatures soaring above 44C in some places.

Firefighters on Friday battled fires fanned by strong winds for three days that left at least one person dead, a 55-year-old man who collapsed and died while battling flames around his village.

Last year, a brutal two-week heat wave was followed by devastating wildfires that killed 20 people.

Scientists warn that human-caused fossil fuel emissions are exacerbating the length and intensity of heat waves around the world.

According to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, rising temperatures are leading to longer fire seasons and increasing the area burned by flames.